The Ozark Foothills FilmFest has been rockin’ along for 18 years, bringing panels, workshops, and screenings of all sorts to Batesville every April. This year, though, will be extra special, with the festival’s opening weekend being hosted at the Melba Theater, a recently restored art deco jewel in downtown Batesville.

The festival will open with a screening of Charlie Chaplin’s “The Gold Rush,” a restored version of the original 1925 comedic masterpiece, accompanied by live music from local guitarist Danny Dozier.

From there, the festival will pack its two weekends with films of all shapes and sizes, including four programs that feature narrative and documentary shorts from the states and abroad. Documentary features will include Pat Mire’s “Sushi and Sauce Piquante: The Life and Music of Jerry McGee”; Jessica Ynez Simmons’ “I Can Only Be Mary Lane,” about a Chicago Blues singer originally from Clarendon; and Katharina Stieffenhofer’s “From Seed to Seed,” a look at ecological agriculture.

The festival will also reprise its focus on rural America in film with its “Reel Rural” program, which will screen on the final day of the festival in UACCB’s Independence Hall. This year’s series features James Choi’s “Empty Space,” Daniel Peddle’s “Moss,” and Andrew Paul Davis’s “Palace,” and all three filmmakers will stick around for a panel discussion and post-screening Q&As.

You’ll get your money’s worth and then some, with an all-access pass for just $30 or tickets for individual screenings and blocks at $3-$7. The FilmFest doesn’t sell advance tickets, since the venues accommodate Ozark Foothills audiences, but you can get venue details here, and get your all-access pass by calling (870) 251-1189 or emailing