According to a brief note
posted on their website this morning, the Little Rock Film Festival is no more:
After 9 great years, each one bigger and arguably better than the last, The Little Rock Film Festival is retiring.
We are proud of the Arkansas filmmaking community that we have helped to inspire and promote, and pleased to have brought hundreds of the top independent filmmakers from around the World to Central Arkansas each year to share their work directly with audiences.
Along the way, we were able to show off our beautiful city and state, and provide the kind of cultural entertainment we believe is essential for a city like Little Rock, to attract and retain the young people it needs to prosper and compete.
Thank you to the sponsors, festivalgoers, filmmakers and volunteers who have been a part of this fantastic ride. We love you all.
LRFF World Shorts curator Justin Nickels said he heard the news for the first time roughly 12 hours before the announcement, but that ultimately, "there wasn't enough interest, and it was hard to come up with enough funding to maintain it." He added, "It's better to go out with a successful festival than to have a mediocre one."
Nickels said the festival had been attempting to avoid closure for weeks. "They were reaching out to people at all levels of the city and trying to find more funding. It just requires a lot to maintain a festival of that size. Everybody who worked on it had full time jobs outside of the festival. I don't think people realized that."
"It was ten years of my life," he said. "I think it's going to hurt the city and it will hurt the film community — this was kind of the rock for the state when it comes to film festivals. The Little Rock Film Festival helped develop a film community here, helped make it stronger, and now there won't be as many places for people to showcase their work."
UPDATE: Founders Craig and Brent Renaud answer our questions.