PRESS RELEASE: Embargo March 25, 2021 Arvest Bank and PEAK Innovation Center Partner with the Fort Smith International Film Festival to Enrich Professional Development

Press Conference and Check-Giving Ceremony Take Place on Thursday, March 25, 2021


CONTACT: Beth Presley; Fort Smith Region Marketing Manager; Arvest Bank
PHONE/EMAIL: 479.573.1468 or 479.462.6247 /
CONTACT: Dr. Gary Udouj; Director of Career Education and District Innovation, Fort Smith Public Schools
PHONE/EMAIL: 479.785.2501 x 1260 /
CONTACT: Jennifer Burchett; Artistic Director, Fort Smith International Film Festival (FSIFF)
PHONE/EMAIL: 806.939.3049 / /


FORT SMITH, AR: On behalf of Arvest Bank, PEAK Innovation Center, and the Fort Smith International Film Festival, the press are invited to a conference and check-giving ceremony on Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 11 AM at the Bakery District, located at 70 South 7th Street in Fort Smith. Arvest Bank will sponsor the inaugural Fort Smith International Film Festival by giving $10,000 to the River Valley Film Society, the nonprofit organization spearheading the festival. Arvest’s sponsorship supports the festival and additional year-round programs that are designed to enrich the River Valley’s young professionals artistically and professionally. Student outreach is underway in conjuncture with the Peak Innovation Center and the Fort Smith Public School District by coordinating with teachers to get the students involved from the classroom.

Roger Holroyd, President ARVEST Fort Smith presents check to Brandon Goldsmith, President Fort Smith Film

“This festival is a rich opportunity for high school students in our region to showcase their work, allowing an international audience a unique view into the Fort Smith region. We are excited for these student voices to be heard,” said Dr. Udouj, Director of Career Education and District Innovation for Fort Smith Public Schools.
River Valley High School students can win scholarship awards sponsored by the UAFS Foundation; $2,000 for 1st place, $1,000 for 2nd place, and $500 for 3rd place. This scholarship award is redeemable upon the student’s entry at UAFS. Students are also eligible to win cash prizes redeemable upon winning that are sponsored by Arvest Bank; $750 for 1st place, $500 for 2nd place, and $250 for 3rd place.

“Arvest Bank is proud to sponsor the Festival and in doing so, provide professional pathways for our young people to explore thanks to the development underway with Peak Innovation Center, Fort Smith Public Schools, and UAFS. Our goal is to prepare all students for the workforce. Whether they go into film, marketing, communications, or something different, the skills they will learn by participating in this festival and year-round programs will help prepare these young professionals for successful careers,” said Roger Holroyd, President and CEO of Arvest Bank.
With Arvest’s Presenting Sponsor investment into the Fort Smith International Film Festival, the River Valley Film Society will develop year-round programs that meet the goal of the nonprofit’s mission. Programs include Film Literacy, 48-hour Film Competitions, and Corporate Commercial Competitions. Each is designed to expand upon creative expression through film while also cultivating professional skills that will enrich the students professionally while they contribute to the the local economy.

Year-round activities in addition to the festival will begin this summer. The inaugural Fort Smith International Film Festival will take place on August 13 & 14, 2021 at the Bakery District, 906 Cocktail and Cigar Lounge, and 5 Star Productions. Filmmakers can submit their films at