Every year there are over 50 film festivals in Colorado, and the Colorado Office of Fim, Television and Media provides fiscal sponsorships for about 40 of them. While many are well established with decades of festivals under their belts, many new festivals are started every year to meet the needs of local communities and showcase specific local, national, and international artists and filmmakers.
One of these new festivals, happening this weekend on December 17 and 18, is the Arkansas Valley Film Festival in La Junta. Started by Anya Miller, a high school intern with La Junta Economic Development, the festival will feature original works by young filmmakers aged 12-17 from Otero, Bent, Prowers, Kiowa, Crowley, and Baca counties in southeastern Colorado. After the closing of the Fox Theatre during COVID, entertainment options in La Junta were limited. On top of that, there weren’t many opportunities for students to showcase their art locally. Seeing these needs that weren’t being met, Miller worked with Cynthia Neib, the Director of Urban Renewal and Economic Development in La Junta, to put together the Arkansas Valley Film Festival. When the Fox Theatre reopens on December 17th, it will be reopening with a homegrown film festival.
The Arkansas Valley Film Festival will be the first annual film festival in southeast Colorado and would not be possible without the local community’s support. The festival was a full community endeavor - from its founder Anya Miller who spearheaded its creation, the City of La Junta Economic Development, the sponsors who have generously donated everything from gift cards to professional photography sessions, restaurant gift cards and even heads of lettuce, and the passionate and talented local filmmakers whose works will be screened. While the Arkansas Valley Film Festival may be starting small this year, Miller hopes to see it grow in future years: “I want it to become something that the community looks forward to. Something that gives students a way to envision what might be possible for them, the way creating the film festival has been for me.”
To find out more about the Arkansas Valley Film Festival and purchase tickets, visit their website. To learn more about the Colorado Office of Film, Television and Media and our Film Festival and Promotion Grant, visit our website.