Extension Office planning local film festival

Local residents encouraged to take part

By Jeff Gilliland - [email protected]



To provide a forum for open discussion about agricultural, environmental and rural community development topics, the Highland County OSU Extension Office announced Tuesday a Germinate International Film Fest that will be held Aug. 16-17 in Highland County.

Brooke Beam, an agriculture and natural resources/community development educator with the Extension Office, said that while most of the festival will be held at Southern State Community College in Hillsboro, there will also be screenings at local farms.

Submissions are encouraged for all styles and methods of film production including, but not limited to: aerial cinematography, stop-motion, animation, and live action. Applicants are encouraged to use their creativity and imagination for the cinematic direction of their submissions.

Beam said while films are being accepted from across the country and internationally, event organizers would like to have 10 percent or more of them produced locally. She said the films can be almost any length and can be produced by anyone of any age.

“Rural communities face many challenges. Germinate International Film Fest seeks films that will highlight the resiliency of rural communities and the individuals who are making these communities thrive,” Beam said. “Does your community have a fabulous community garden? An engaged non-profit determined to increase technology in schools? Any programs that set your community apart from others? If so, we want you to tell their story and share it via a film at the festival.”

The films can cover a broad range of topics including agriculture, natural resources, food production and rural communities.

“It’s a new opportunity and we encourage anyone interested to apply. You do not have to be a full-time videographer to craft a good story,” Beam said.

There will also be a still photography element to the event, with pictures of agriculture, nature or the environment, or rural communities being accepted.

”Historically, researchers have found that rural communities and the agricultural industry have been depicted in entertainment media as outdated, having unrealistic portrayals, and as fodder for comedic material in film and television programming. However, online streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu and Apple iTunes, have recently curated sections of films related to food production and culinary expertise,” Beam said. “These curated films represent consumers’ desire to want to learn more about how their food was prepared and where it was grown. The Germinate International Film Fest seeks to aggregate films that represent rural communities and their associated industries in an accurate manner, including current technologies, practices and programs.”

The concept behind the Film Fest, Beam said, is to provide a forum for open discussion about agricultural, environmental and rural community development topics important to the public. She said while rural areas represent 97 percent of the United States’ landmass, only 19.3 percent of the population lives in a rural area, and less than 2 percent of the nation’s population are farmers.

“This film festival will provide an opportunity to showcase the agricultural industry from the perspective of agricultural producers, researchers and rural community members,” she said.

“While there are thousands of film festivals in the world, Germinate International Film Fest is different because these films will be selected based upon their ability to tell a compelling and logical story, as well as providing factual information about the topic being discussed,” Beam added. “The festival will fill a void in current festival lineups to highlight rural communities and the natural environments and industries surrounding them.”

Film submissions will be accepted for these categories:

* Short documentary: 59 minutes or less;

* Feature documentary: 60 minutes or more;

* Short narrative: 59 minutes or less;

* Feature narrative: 60 minutes or more;

* A short of any kind: 20 minutes or less;

* Virtual reality: 20 minutes or less;

* Student films: collegiate and graduate student-produced films;

* Youth: any filmmaker that is under 18;

* and Scholarly and/or Extension.

Films can be submitted through: https://filmfreeway.com/GerminateInternationalFilmFest. They are being accepted now through the deadline of June 30.

Southern State will host most of the festival screenings. In addition to the live screenings of films, attendees will be able to participate in a series of hands-on workshops related to video production, photography, agriculture, natural resources, astronomy and community development topics. The workshops will be held at various locations throughout Highland County.

There will be a workshop at 6 p.m. Monday, March 25 at the Lynchburg Branch Library titled: Filmaking 101. Beam said it will provide basic tips on how to make films using cell phones or any type of camera.

A second workshop will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 25 at the Hillsboro Ponderosa. It will focus on storytelling.

Beam said anyone interested in the workshops should call the Extension Office at 937-393-1918 so they will know how many people to expect.

She said there will be other workshops through June, with locations and times announced at a later date.

The times for the film screenings at SSCC, and how to purchase tickets, will also be announced at a later date.

For more information about the festival, contact the Extension Office.

Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.


Local residents encouraged to take part

By Jeff Gilliland

[email protected]