HULA GIRL, by Amy Hill & Chris Riess

Now that I’ve got a full year under my belt — here’s some insights on maximizing your enjoyment of the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival this year!

  1. I frequently hear that we have SO MANY great movies it’s impossible to pick! I get it, with over 122 feature titles (the cream of the crop) it’s overwhelming. But don’t throw up your hands and say ‘well, I can’t pick, I guess I’m seeing nothing!’ The beauty is, you really can’t go wrong.
NUEVA VIDA, Jonathan Seligson

Simple pick 5 that sound awesome opening weekend — get your friends to do the same — see where you overlap and buy your tickets! If you want to do more research, all the films are up on our website with their trailers! THEN hang out at the festival and listen to what people loved for Round 2!

2. Still stressed?

THE LAST STORM, Liam Saint-Pierre

When in doubt go to whatever has a filmmaker Q&A! (I have never seen such great Q&A’s as in Hot Springs.)

TUNGRUS, Rishi Chandna

3. THE LOUNGE! If you’re a true doc watcher you gotta have a place to collect your thoughts and hydrate with Mountain Valley Spring Water. Do you succumb easily to FOMO? The lounge fixes that — eat snickers, chat and unwind with the filmmakers. Occasionally you can even find the Executive Director acting as mimosa bartender. (BYO cats and roosters!) I know what you’re thinking — the ALL- ACCESS PASS isn’t cheap but it’s actually the best deal in town.***

***I did no research to prove that

THE INTERPRETER, Sofian Khan, Andres Caballero

4. If you really liked a film, tell us on Facebook! You’ll spread the joy and make a filmmaker’s day! If you DID NOT like a film, please don’t leave a public comment, we’re trying to offer a supportive platform for independent filmmakers and believe me, they have enough self-criticism, they don’t need more.

5. Are you a FILMMAKER coming to town for the festival? Make sure to save enough time in between all fabulous events to wash off all the post-production stress at one of the famous Bath Houses. Ask a local for their fave! *** image NOT typical of a Hot Springs Bathhouse!

FACING THE DRAGON, Sedika Mojadidi

6. Ok, if you’re about to shrug your shoulders and say ‘I’d love to come but I have kids.’ NICE TRY. We have a ton of family-friendly programming to take advantage of — FOR FREE! There are also creative workshops for kids of all ages. Frankly, if you don’t have kids, I’d borrow a friend’s kid so you can enjoy the cool kids workshops without feeling weird.

7. KEEP UPDATED ON FACEBOOK! Not to toot my own horn but my team is always trying to keep you posted on surprise guests (be it filmmakers or penguins!) Invite friends to like us so you can share events!

UNITED SKATES, Dyana Winkler & Tina Brown

8. Party with us! Another great way to chat with filmmakers and hear what movies they love!


9. Above all GET EXCITED! We’ve handcrafted 10 days of epic experiences and we’re elated to present them to our gorgeous town.

Buy tickets here: