Main menu

Skip to primary content

April 12-16

Secondary menu

Skip to primary content

You’ve missed going to the movies this year and the movies have missed you, too!  We’re proud to present this year’s festival in TWO ACTS! 

From a Triumph-ant opening on the Library lawn to a joyous closing of Hairspray anointed by queens, this summer’s Free State Festival brought audiences back together in new ways in front of the silver screen and under the Kansas sky. We appreciate every single person who carried a lawn chair to unique environments, cheered on our pre-show performers or donned a reflective vest to guide people to their places. From supportive audiences to generous partners, dedicated staff and enthusiastic volunteers, the festival was especially meaningful as we resumed the experience of sharing cinematic stories with our community. None of that would have been possible without the time, humor and energy from so many here in Lawrence, Kansas. Thank you for being you. We’re so glad to have you back at the movies!

Thank you to the following partners and sponsoring organizations:

The National Endowment for the Arts; the City of Lawrence; Explore Lawrence; Haskell Indian Nations University’s Hiawatha Center for Justice; Lied Center of Kansas; Theatre Lawrence; Lawrence Public Library; Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics; the Hall Center for the Humanities at the University of Kansas; Mainline Printing; KU Film and Media Studies; KU Department of French, Francophone and Italian Studies; Lawrence College and Career Center; Douglas County Fairgrounds; the Cider Gallery; Kansas Public Radio; Audio-Reader;  Transformations Charity Gala; the Spencer Museum of Art; Breakout Lawrence; Game Nut; KJHK; Pedestrian Cheese; KU Department of African and African-American Studies; the Watkins Museum of History; Downtown Lawrence Inc.

But wait…

There is still more to come! Free State Festival will return for a SECOND ACT with headliners filmmaker John Waters, comedian Cameron Esposito, visual artist Dario Robleto, an Indigenous Experimental Film Art Walk and much more from April 12-16. Stay tuned for full details…


Marlo Angell – Director/ Founder 

Ben Ahlvers – Co-Director

Event  Manager – Kelly Rodriguez

Marketing – Amy Albright

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

For further information on the festival, sponsorships, or volunteer opportunities, please contact: