Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival to commemorate anniversaries of The Beatles, Star Trek, 1936 Olympics

Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival to commemorate anniversaries of The Beatles, Star Trek, 1936 Olympics

(Hot Springs, AR) – While the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, there are other 2016 cultural landmarks that will be celebrated with screenings and special guests at HSDFF. The festival runs October 7-16 at the Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa in Hot Springs.

50th Anniversary of the final Beatles U.S. Tour – Special Guest Freda Kelly

It’s Beatle-mania on HSDFF’s final Saturday with two documentaries about the most famous band in the world.  Freda Kelly maintained a singular view of music history as the steady secretary for the Beatles during their meteoric rise to stardom. Kelly returns to HSDFF with the film documenting her story, Good Ol’ Freda, one of the few Beatles documentaries supported by the band’s surviving members and featuring original Beatles music. Kelly will also participate in a screeningof the new Ron Howard film The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years. 

50th Anniversary of Star Trek – Special Guest Adam Nimoy

Nimoy began making a documentary about his father, Leonard Nimoy, for this year’s 50th anniversary of Star Trek. When Leonard died in 2015, the film became much more personal for Adam, his family, and for friends and co-stars who knew the man behind Mr. Spock. Nimoy will join HSDFF via live feed from Spain for a screening of For the Love of Spock

80th Anniversary of the Berlin Summer Olympics – Special Guest Jeff Henderson

Arkansas’s 2016 gold medal Olympian joins HSDFF to celebrate Olympic pioneers from 80 years ago. While most people know Jesse Owens’ story, there were actually 17 other Black athletes on the U.S. team at the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics. The documentary Olympic Pride, American Prejudice looks at the lives of those athletes before, during and after the games in both a racially divided America and in the heart of the Third Reich. 

HSDFF has more special guests to announce:  

Austin Pendleton

Pendleton, a quintessential character actor, has appeared in more than 90 films, from Catch-22 and What’s Up, Doc to My Cousin Vinny, Amistad and A Beautiful Mind. He will be the focus of a forum centered on the short film Starring Austin Pendleton. In addition its subject, he film features Pendleton’s fellow New York actors Meryl Streep, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Olympia Dukakis and Natalie Portman.

Jose Xtravaganza

Madonna's controversial 1990’s Blonde Ambition Tour made overnight stars out of the performers who supported her onstage.  Jose Extravaganza, one of the sleek and talented dancers featured in the tour, will join HSDFF for the spotlight screening of Strike a Pose, a revealing, surprisingly touching look at Madonna’s most famous troupe of dancers. Sponsored by Little Rock’s Club Sway. 

Danny Harris

1984 Olympic medalist Harris will be in Arkansas for the world premiere of Crossing the Line, a film chronicling his personal rise, fall, and redemption. Harris, an athletic prodigy, dealt with both greatness and addiction during his time as a track-and-field star. Crossing the Line features some of the biggest names in modern track-and-field history.

Tess Harper

Actress and native Arkansan Tess Harper, an Oscar and Golden Globe nominee, returns to HSDFF as a member of the Deltic Timber Environmental Stories jury and to enliven film Q & A sessions with her distinctive style.

These special guests join previously announced attendees Ed Asner, Barry Bostwick, Beau Bridges, and Louis Gossett, Jr.

The oldest festival of its kind in North America, HSDFF continues to be a boon for both the documentary industry and the city it calls home.

“HSDFF enriches the cultural life of our community, state and region with its unprecedented gathering of the best documentary films and their creators in one place,” Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs, said. “The festival’s unparalleled reputation for innovation and scope has long focused the attention of people across the United States on the city, its attractions and its unrivaled hospitality and amenities.” 

The full HSDFF lineup, along with links to purchase passes and tickets, can be found at