[Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival] now stands tall as a prominent destination in an expanding nonfiction festival landscape that includes Full Frame in Durham, AFI Docs in Washington D.C., DOC NYC in New York, Hot Docs in Toronto, and International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam.
— Senses of Cinema
Without exaggeration I was literally reborn at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival. As a co-founder of SXSW and a producer who has had films premiere at Sundance, Toronto International Film Festival and SXSW this might seem sheer hyperbole. But the truth is I spent the previous two years battling ill health, including long stretches of lying on the couch being unable to walk. I was a bit bitter and encased in a shell after that experiences. The films and people at Hot Springs reminded me why I fell so in love with film in the first place. It was intimate yet professional, passionate but still reasoned. The attendees were great, the special guests accessible and the films excellently programmed and relatively easy to get into see. It is a remarkable Festival and a great event.
— Louis Black, cofounder of SXSW and editor of the Austin Chronicle
HSDFF gives filmmakers a chance to come together in a wonderful settings where they can encounter each other and audiences who take documentaries seriously.
— Gordon Quinn, artistic director and founding member of Kartemquin Films
Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Toronto, Sheffield – Hot Springs, Arkansas? Now in its impressive 22nd year, the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival exceeded expectations and then some, its programmers bringing in high-quality nonfiction fare – not to mention topnotch filmmakers and colorful characters – that perfectly aligned with the city’s oddball Southern charm.
— Filmmaker Magazine
…one of the best venues for filmmakers to come to.
— Chris Gore, author of The Ultimate Film Festival and founder of Film Threat
….a guileless festival. There’s no attitude... People come together here.
— Ken Burns, filmmaker
There is no better energizer for a documentary with OSCAR ambitions than the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival. Coming closer to nomination time than most festivals, it is the trampoline to bounce contenders up to the starting line.
— Peter Coyote, actor and narrator
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival was a magical experience for me and my indie film, HER AIM IS TRUE. The staff and audiences welcomed me like an old friend and were so enthusiastic and passionate about supporting indie films like mine, it was a tremendous boost and encouragement during my journey to share this story with the world. The unique Hot Springs hospitality and camaraderie stays with me to this day, I can’t wait for an opportunity to return!
— Karen Whitehead, filmmaker (Her Aim is True)
The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival is a gem of a festival. I had a great time, saw some great films and met an incredible crew of people. One of the warmest, friendliest festivals I’ve ever attended. And what an interesting town! Can’t wait to make another film just to have an excuse to go back.
— Ric Esther Bienstock, Emmy-winning filmmaker and recipient of an Edward R. Murrow Award (Tales of the Organ Trade)
I am convinced that there is not a more gracious, efficient, and creative group running a film festival anywhere in the world. It is easy to see why this festival is growing at such a phenomenal rate.
— Harry Thomason, producer
The audiences are generous and sophisticated. A wonderfully warm and dynamic environment for documentary filmmakers to share their work.
— Trevor Albert, producer (Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me)
The Hot Springs Documentary Festival was a game-changer for our film FINDING HILLYWOOD. We made new friends and industry contacts whom we still keep in touch with, and the audiences showed up en mass to watch documentaries, thanks to all the promotion Hot Springs does ahead of time. We recommend this festival for all documentary filmmakers who want to feel GOOD about the films they’ve been working on for so long - Hot Springs is truly a “reward”.
— Leah Warshawski, filmmaker (Finding Hillywood)