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June 25-30

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The Free State Festival celebrates the free spirit of the state of Kansas with films that challenge, inspire, and entertain. This signature annual event brings independent films, live music, comedy and art to venues across the vibrant college town of Lawrence. The festival is produced by the Lawrence Arts Center and made possible through programming support from community partners, grants and individual sponsorships.

The 2024 Free State Festival is made possible through grant funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the City of Lawrence’s Transient Guest Tax program, the City of Lawrence Community Arts Grant and Explore Lawrence. Media partners include Kansas Public Radio, KJHK 90.7 FM and Lawrence Business Magazine.

The Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics, the Lied Center of Kansas, Audio-Reader Network, the Spencer Museum of Art, KU Film and Media Studies, the Watkins Museum of History, Free State Brewing Co., Liberty Hall, Taco Zone, Sunflower Outdoor & Bike Shop, Terrebonne Po’Boys, the Cider Gallery,  Haskell Indian Nations University, Downtown Lawrence Inc., the Lawrence Public Library, the Hall Center for the Humanities at the University of Kansas, Theatre Lawrence, Lawrence Talks, Art Love Collective, and the Lawrence Music Alliance


The festival began as a showcase of short films in 2011 and officially became the Free State Film Festival in 2012 with a weekend of feature films, visiting artists and shorts. We received a large grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2014-2015 to find our place in the landscape of other art forms such as music. comedy and visual art, and have since settled into a sweet spot of a sustainable weeklong event with film at its core. Thanks to the City of Lawrence’s Transient Guest Tax program, sponsorships, and the contributions of our community partners, we showcase approximately 3o films in venues throughout the city accompanied by live comedy and music performances to thousands of attendees – visitors and townies alike!

Check out this article on our humble beginnings, including the vision for what was to come!


View our 2023 photo gallery!

View our 2022 photo gallery!

View our 2021 photo gallery!

Advisory Board
Laura Kirk / Misti Boland / Chris Blunk / Jon Niccum / Tom Carmody  / Christie Dobson / David Hollond / Jeremy Osbern / Rebekka Schlichting / Robert Hubbard

(From left to right): Festival Manager Kelly Rodriguez, Festival Intern Taylor Thompson, Festival Director Marlo Angell

For further information on the festival including partnerships, sponsorships, or volunteer opportunities,
please contact Free State Festival Director Marlo Angell: