The Fayetteville Film Fest is a cultural leader in our region, bringing world class film to our state, developing meaningful relationships with filmmakers, and nurturing the art of filmmaking by uniting a community of creators and supporters.


The Fayetteville Film Fest, now in its thirteenth year, is an advocate for films and filmmakers as they enter the marketplace. Because we are establishing that groundwork, we are an artistic festival with market potential. We offer a full schedule of panels and other events to compliment the screenings of our films.

The Fayetteville Film Fest is committed to expanding and supporting our filmmaker relationships and sister festivals throughout the state. We strive to establish a unique personality and we want our festival audience to have a memorable experience.

The Fayetteville Film Fest is also an advocate for films and filmmakers as they enter the marketplace. In our twelfth year, we are an established festival with market potential. There will be workshops, panels and other events to compliment the screenings of our films, as well as numerous networking opportunities.

Fayetteville, Arkansas, a highly artistic community, is home to the University of Arkansas and next to the headquarters of the largest retailer in the world including the largest distributor of DVD’s. We're consistently in the top 100 FilmFreeway Festivals based on filmmaker feedback.


Fayetteville Film Fest is a Gold Member of Filmfreeway, the industry recognized standard in film submission platforms.  The submission season for the Fayetteville Film Fest spans from February 1 through July 31. 

Winners will be conferred in the following categories: 

Best Narrative Feature 

Best Documentary Feature
Best Narrative Short Film 

Best Documentary Short Film 

Best Emerging Filmmaker
Best Arkansas Connection 

Audience Choice: Best of Fest

All winners will receive laurels.

Click here to learn more about submitting your film for consideration. 



Co-Executive Director

Russell Leigh Sharman is a writer, filmmaker and anthropologist.  He has written for Hollywood since 2008, working for several studios and production companies, including Warner Brothers, Fox, Disney, MRC, DeLine Pictures, 21 Laps, Participant Media, Montecito Pictures, The Mark Gordon Company and Real FX.  He is also the writer/director of the low-budget indie feature, APARTMENT 4E, an adaptation of his stage play, as well as a number of no-budget short films and documentaries. Russell holds a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from Oxford University and is the author of two books.  He has published numerous essays on urban life, culture and aesthetics, and received grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Whiting Foundation and others. He is currently Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Communication at the University of Arkansas where he teaches film.


Co-Executive Director

Colleen Thurston is an award-winning media producer and film programmer based in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Northwest Arkansas. She is an Assistant Professor of Journalism and Strategic Media at the University of Arkansas, where she teaches documentary production and studies. Colleen earned an M.F.A. in science and natural history filmmaking from Montana State University and a B.A. in media arts and anthropology from the University of Arizona.Specializing in short form non-fiction production, her films tend to explore the relationships between humans and the natural world, and often focus on Indigenous stories and perspectives. Colleen has worked for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and the Smithsonian Channel, and has produced and crewed documentaries for museums, public television stations and federal agencies. She also produced and directed short documentaries for four seasons of the Cherokee Nation’s series, “Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People,” earning two Emmy awards for her work as a producer and writer. In 2019, Colleen had two short documentaries on Native women "Speaking Through Generations" and "Chasing 14,000," on the film festival circuit. She is currently in production on her first feature length documentary, "Drowned Land," which deals with water rights issues in the Choctaw Nation. Colleen has served as Festival Director of the Element Film Festival, Programming Assistant for Native Cinema Showcase at Santa Fe Indian Art Market and in 2015 helped launch the Tulsa American Film Festival for which she served as Director of Programming for three years. She curates film and storytelling events independently and in conjunction with partnering organizations. Colleen is a 2019-2021 Firelight Media Documentary Lab fellow, a member of the Choctaw Nation and a seventh generation Oklahoman.


Technical Director

Dan Robinson earned his degree in Composition from the Conservatory at the University of Missouri in Kansas City in 2000. Since that time, Dan has worked in a wide variety of styles, from Orchestral to Rock, Country to Hip Hop. He has written, collaborated and produced numerous musicals, opera, film and game scores and a myriad of songs in a wide variety of genre. Dan has recorded and produced over 30 full-length albums. In 2006, he produced the Ozark Music Award's best Record of the Year and won Best Sound Engineer. He works out of The Foundry, a fully equipped, 900 square foot sound studio specifically designed by him for the purpose of recording bands and ensembles. In 2008 Dan scored the Telly-Award winning documentary film "Medicine Under Canvas". As a natural progression rising out of his work in film scoring, Dan became more involved in the complete process of film production. Currently his production company, Fiery Moon Films, has several properties in development and various stages of production. Fiery Moon Films also produces commercials for television, radio, and internet. Dan continues to enjoy building his resume as a Film Producer, Director, Photographer and Editor working with state of the art equipment within Fiery Moon Films.



Jason is a teaching artist and professional actor who holds an MA in Theatre and Film from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. He is the Director of Partnerships and Community Engagement for Trike Theatre in Bentonville, Arkansas.  He tours as a cast member with multiple plays created by Trike Theatre and produced by the Walton Arts Center and is a founding member of two comedy improv troupes in Northwest Arkansas, Phunbags and Rodeo Book Club.

He has served on the Board of Directors for the Seedling Film Association in Fayetteville since it’s inception and was the Executive Director from January 2011 to January 2013.  In early winter of 2014, Jason launched a new Fayetteville, AR based television show, Later with Jason Suel, on the Fayetteville Public Access Station. In the fall of 2014, Jason toured Ireland as an actor in ‘The Odyssey Experience’ directed by Christopher Parks and produced by New Jersey's Experiential Theatre Company.



Morgan is a co-founder of Fayetteville's professional theatre company, TheatreSquared, where she serves as the Director of Education and Program Development.  She has directed numerous shows including Murder for Two, A Christmas Carol, Noises Off, Boeing Boeing, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), Fully Committed, Every Christmas Story Ever Told and The Mystery of Irma Vep. She is also a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas where she teaches Theatre History and Directing and recently directed shows such as Eurydice, As You Like It, The Exonerated and Vinegar Tom. She  Previously she served as general manager of Writer’s Theatre in Chicago and company manager of BareStage in Missouri. She has served on several non-profit boards including Artist's Laboratory Theatre and Last Night Fayetteville.  She holds a BFA in Acting from Arkansas State University, an MA in Performance Studies from Missouri State University, and an MFA in Directing from the University of Arkansas and studied Political Theatre at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland.


Jury Chair

Alex is a writer from Little Rock and a lecturer of film at the University of Arkansas. He has previously worked in scripted programming and development at A+E and Lifetime and as a script reader for Martin Campbell Productions and the Austin Film Festival. A former producer’s assistant on Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Alex has also served as a writers’ assistant on ABC’s Killer Women and Pauly Shore’s Landing Patch Productions. He holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Arkansas and an MFA in Writing and Producing for Television from Loyola Marymount University.


Board Member

Joanna Sheehan Bell moved to Fayetteville in 2017 to take on the role of Director of Marketing and Communications at TheatreSquared. As director of programs for the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards, she oversaw programs ranging from grants, awards, professional development initiatives, media productions, and national partnerships during a ten-year tenure with the New York-based organization. She has received an Emmy nomination for producing documentary film projects in live theater, plus additional gold and silver Telly Awards, and a Webby Award nomination. Working on translation for the documentary film Small Voices moved her to be a sustaining supporter of Safe Haven Medical Outreach for the last decade. She proudly serves on the boards of Spellbound Theater Company for the very young based in Brooklyn and the Fayetteville Film Fest. She holds an MA in arts administration from Columbia University, NY, and a BA in English and Theatre from James Madison University, VA.  


Board Member

Na’Tosha De’Von is an actor, published poet, writer and activist. She holds an MFA in acting from the University of Arkansas. As well as a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre and Speech Communication from Jackson State University. In her career she has worked with several regional and non-reginoal theatre companies. She has her poetry published in the literary Sanctuary as well as her one-person show featured in the New Play Festival at Theatresquared. She is a member of the Blue Ensemble Theater company located in Jackson MS. Na’Tosha serves as a casting assistant and sensitivity coordinator for Actors Casting Agency. Na’Tosha is also on the Board of Directors at the Rachel Lynett Theatre Company in Madison Winsconsin. She is a teaching artist for Trike Theatre and serves on the DEI board at Theatresquared. She is previously seen in PBS Chase the Lion and SAG film Freedoms Path. She serves her community through activism in the arts generating safe spaces for Black and BIPOC people to create. 


Board Member

Randy Dixon is the director of the Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Before coming to the Pryor Center, Dixon spent more than three decades of his media career at KATV News in Little Rock.  KATV is the ABC television affiliate owned by Allbritton Communications.  At KATV he oversaw all aspects of news, weather, and sports coverage, all local broadcasts, and managed a staff of more than 60 employees.  During Dixon’s tenure at Channel 7, the station dominated ratings in the Little Rock market for almost 20 years.  

Dixon’s work has been recognized and honored within the news industry, having received ten regional Emmys, 22 regional and four national Edward R. Murrow awards, more than four dozen Associated Press awards and three Gold World Medals from the New York Festivals.  

Dixon has twice served as president of the Arkansas Associated Press Broadcasters’ Association and on the board of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Mid-America Chapter for four years and is returning next year. In 2010, he was inducted into the Emmy’s Silver Circle of Lifetime Achievement.  Dixon attended Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock where he studied biology and radio/television/film respectively.


Board Member

Raymond House is the owner of Third House Productions, a creative company geared toward music production, film scoring, and creative direction. Over the span of 16 years he has executive produced over a dozen albums and EPs for artists, and scored a handful of films. He also serves as the drama director for St. James MBC, directing over 20 stage play productions. A graduate of the University of Arkansas and Wayne State College, Raymond seeks to apply his experience in project management and continuous improvement to creative spaces in order to see execution and success in all he participates in. 


Board Member

Airic Hughes is an entrepreneur, artist, philanthropist and Ph.D candidate in the Department of History at the University of Arkansas. His research examines modern environmental segregation in urban America. Airic is the founder of Visionairi Enterprises. Visionairi produces film, media, and events with a mission to promote and preserve black culture. Visionairi engages communities in areas of education, creativity, and social justice.


Board Member

Katrosh is the manager of the Media Production team at the University of Arkansas Global Campus. The Media Production team is dedicated primarily to delivering instructional video and animation used in courses developed by U of A academic colleges and schools as well as for non-credit training and certificate programs for industry. In addition, Katrosh consults on feature film development; produces and directs commercials, documentaries, and films; and designs/oversees construction of production and post-production facilities and sound stages. Before joining the Global Campus in November 2013, Katrosh worked for University Relations and helped develop the promotional video series, “Short Takes.” He served five years as the director of the David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History, also based at the university. From 1996 to 2006 Katrosh was a producer and general manager at Dempsey Film Group, a 30-person, full-service film and video facility in Little Rock. He has worked in the film business since 1985.


Board Member

Niketa Reed is a media professor at the School of Journalism and Strategic Media and Executive Director of Arkansas Soul, a digital media platform focused on BIPOC in Arkansas. As an affiliate faculty member of the African and African American Studies program, Reed teaches African Americans in Film and African Americans in Documentary Film. She is an advocate for diversity in media with a passion for projects that celebrate and highlight African American experiences. 


Board Member