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With aspects of the Free State Festival on hold for 2017, the Lawrence Arts Center will return to its film-centric roots this summer to present a streamlined showcase of feature films from the international film festival circuit, local films, live comedy accompanied by short film screenings and on-stage film-inspired music. The Lawrence Arts Center is now accepting film submissions for the Free State Film Festival slated for June 29 - July 2 on FilmFreeway.com. 

The Free State Festival started as an independent film festival in 2011 and received grant funding from the National Endowment for the Arts to expand into an interdisciplinary arts festival in 2014. The 2016 festival included guests such as Public Enemy, Jad Abumrad, Kris Kristofferson, and Maria Bamford and had an estimated attendance of 20,000 people. 

Having received funding from the City of Lawrence and Prairie Fire Entertainment for year-round programming for 2017, the Arts Center has hosted a Family Film Series, a Documentary Film Series and a Comedy Showcase under the Free State Festival moniker. Upcoming events include Legends of Ska, a new documentary about the history of original Jamaican ska music followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Brad Kline on March 6 - 6:30pm and a Regional Comedy Showcase featuring comedians Maeret Lemons, Tim Gaither and Justin Leon on March 9 - 7:30pm.

The Arts Center is excited to culminate its year-round festival programming with this June’s Free State Film Festival. Film submissions are free for Kansas filmmakers on filmfreeway.com and close on March 15. For information on film submissions, please email: info@freestatefilmfest.com.