Lauren Wissot Named Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival's Programming Director

Lauren Wissot is joining the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival as its programming director.

Wissot is the former director of programming at the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival, and is still the festival's programming consultant. She's also a member of the Bermuda International Film Festival's international advisory board and a contributing editor at Filmmaker. There, Wissot covers film festivals, both nationally and internationally, and it's also how she discovered the Hot Springs festival.

In a review of the festival last year, Wissot wrote the festival "exceeded my expectations and then some, its programmers brining in high-quality nonfiction fare — not to mention topnotch filmmakers and colorful characters — that perfectly aligned with the city's oddball Southern charm."

Courtney Pledger, the festival's executive director, said it's "extremely pleased" and "honored" to have Wissot join the team.

"Interest in the festival is on fire, accelerated by the nod from the Academy and by the return of tremendous community support," she said in a news release. "To now have onboard an international film journalist and programmer of Lauren's stature makes the brilliant future of the festival very easy to see."

The Hot Springs festival is an Academy Award-qualifying festival and will have its first jury for the Academy Award-qualifying Documentary Short Subject category at this year's festival in October. 

This year's festival will also celebrate 23 years as the longest running, all-documentary festival in North America.

"To be working with a festival that combines an intimate, small town vibe with the cache that comes with being the oldest nonfiction fest in the U.S., not to mention an Academy Award-qualifying festival…I mean, why wouldn't I be excited?" Wissot said in the release. "For a programmer, it doesn't get much better than that. The possibilities are endless."

The 2014 Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival is set for Oct. 10-19 at the Arlington Hotel