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 Animated Short - $500
Best Short Drama - $500
Best Short Comedy - $500
Best Proof of Concept - $500

-Certificate Awards-

Best Direction
Best Screenplay
Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Cinematography
Best Editing
Best Sound Design
Road to El Dorado Award for Best International Film

- 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 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
  • Ned Ehrbar

    A gem of a festival! Emily, Joanna, Richard and the whole team were incredibly welcoming and communicative, and the town was so friendly and welcoming. Genuine hospitality. They make filmmakers feel like family.

    September 2018
  • Jason K. Allen

    An impressive festival – excellent films, great venues, unique events for filmmakers, and lots of networking opportunities. I loved the enthusiasm and creative energy surrounding the festival, and appreciated the good ol’ southern hospitality of the organizers and volunteers. Everyone was just super friendly and helpful. It was tons of fun, and I hope to return. They definitely have something special going on there.

    August 2018
  • dom lenoir

    We didn't manage to make the festival as we were stuck overseas but had such a great experience with the positivity of the staff and festival. Made to feel very welcome as filmmakers

    August 2018
  • Adam Hansen

    While I wasn’t able to attend, my crew and I were extremely grateful for the attentiveness, kindness and professionalism of the festival coordinators/organizers. It was an honor to be selected and I feel incredibly grateful and fortunate to walk away with two awards. An absolute pleasure overall.

    August 2018
  • Johnnie Brannon

    I was excited that my short film, The Devil Made Me Do It, was selected as part of the Made In Arkansas line-up. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend this year but I'm very thankful for the opportunity to screen in south Arkansas. I've heard nothing but great things about the festival and I can't wait to get down there next year.

    December 2017