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International Film Society History

International Film Society History

The International Film Society was founded in 1962 by Alma Doan, Harrison Kash, Arthur Boles, and Philip Jones as an activity of the Ozark Artists Guild. It has been supported by a combination of ticket sales, contributions, over three decades of Missouri Arts Council funding, and funding from the MSSU Institute of International Studies.

Dozens of unpaid volunteers worked over the years to prepare brochures, program notes, apply for assistance, create posters, and distribute publicity materials to the media. Harrison Kash, an assistant professor of chemistry at Joplin Junior College and MSSU from 1958 until his retirement in 1997, was the person most closely affiliated with the International Film Society. It was renamed in his honor in 2014. Kash, who passed away on Oct. 27, 2020, helped select the films shown until as recently as 2016. Dr. Bill Kumbier, a professor of English and philosophy who retired in 2020, also coordinated the films for several years. Dr. Chad Stebbins, director of the Institute of International Studies, is the current coordinator.

Between the two of them, Harrison Kash (left) and Dr. Bill Kumbier coordinated the International Film Festival for 57 years.