The El Dorado Film Festival offers a curated selection of independent cinema to audiences in El Dorado, Arkansas: a small town with a unique history in the arts. The film festival started as part of the South Arkansas Arts Center's 50th anniversary in 2014 and this year we are excited to bring the event back to SAAC.

El Dorado recently launched a 100 million dollar Arts & Entertainment district (Murphy Arts District) which shows the town's commitment to sustaining an artistic presence in the community. Additionally, our South Arkansas Arts Center has been thriving for over 55 years and has a dedicated audience eager to see the arts thrive in our small town.

El Dorado Film Festival has brought filmmakers together and, in turn, created opportunities for those filmmakers to grow together. Currently, one filmmaker is in Nepal working on a feature film due to a connection made at the festival. Another filmmaker is set to produce and star in her first feature film this March. We put our heart into building these relationships, celebrating the amazing accomplishment of making a film, and giving the audiences a direct connection to you, the filmmaker. Who knows, you might bump into your next big investor?

Previous guests include: Joey Lauren Adams, Howard Klausner, Dennis Quaid, Kerri Elder, Martha Stephens (To the Stars)

This year, we are offering an award to our biggest cheerleader in the audience. The audience member who attends every screening, Q&A and party will be in the running for a $1,000 cash prize. To qualify for the award, audience members must fill out a quick form for each film they see. We will provide these audience feedback forms to you, the filmmaker, so you can use your screening here as a sort of test-screening.

Additionally, every submission will receive written feedback from the festival staff.

This festival is all about building community so that each filmmaker can continue to pursue their dreams.

Oh, and El Dorado is absolutely gorgeous in the fall.

-Cash Awards-

Best of Fest - $1,500
Best Audience Member - $1,000

-Value Awards-

Best Narrative Feature - $500
Best Documentary Feature - $500
Best Family Friendly Short - $500
Best Short Drama - $500
Best Short Comedy - $500
Best Proof of Concept - $500
Road to El Dorado Best International Film - $500

- All entries must be postmarked by the deadline date.
- Acceptable formats for submission: DVD & BluRay, Online Submissions are preferred
- All films that are not in English must have English language subtitles.
- Each entry must be a separate submission which includes form and payment for each submission.
- Only submissions with completed entry forms and entry fee will be accepted.
- If selected, a ProRes or DCP version of your film must be sent to the El Dorado Film Festival for screening along with a backup Blu Ray or DVD copy.
- Short films must be 30 minutes or less
- Releases for music and talent must be obtained by the filmmaker. The El Dorado Film Festival is not liable for copyright infringement or unauthorized use.
- If you submit your film to the "Made in Arkansas" category and your film was not made in Arkansas, you will be immediately disqualified.
- If your film has been selected to be screened at the festival we will request you send a press kit to include: stills, posters, postcards, a file/link of the trailer, and other publicity materials to maximize exposure for your film. These materials will not be returned.
- The El Dorado Film Festival does not assume any liability for damage to films, videos, or publicity materials.

Overall Rating
  • Steven Hellmann

    During a pandemic, the El Dorado Film Festival team put together an incredible and safe socially distanced in-person festival in a year where most festivals went digital. Our feature film Taking The Fall played the festival at a beautiful Murphy Art District! It was my first time at the festival and it was great in a very trying year. Can't wait to see what this festival does in future years in a non-covid world!

    November 2020
  • Such an amazing festival all the way around! We were privileged to screen CRAZY at their in-person social distance event and I can't say enough good things about the festival directors. Great communication, great line up, great SWAG and we took home an award! I'll definitely be back!

    November 2020
  • Michael Young

    It was great, I learned so much from the experience. It even taught me to be different in production. I loved it. Looking forward to coming back.

    March 2020
  • One of the best festivals I have had the pleasure of attending. Southern hospitality is real! Go to this festival and find out why...

    October 2019
  • Jaime Lewis

    Was lucky enough to attend this festival as a guest 2 years ago and was blown away by the calibre of films, organisation and hospitality. It was a privilege to be invited back this year to screen our documentary and once again be received with such kindness and enthusiasm. The people of El Dorado couldn't be more friendly and supportive of this event - do not miss this if given the opportunity to attend!

    October 2019