LA GRANDE — The Eastern Oregon Film Festival on Wednesday, Sept. 2, announced its selections for its 2020 season.
While the format of this year’s festival will be digital due to COVID-19, festival director Christopher Jennings still wants to see the features and short films selected start conversations.
“We are building a program that will be engaging for the audience,” Jennings said. “In previous years we take our audience on a tour and go through these films together at the physical events. While we don’t have that this year we have a model that will hopefully still allow people to engage and commit to active participation.”
Event organizers teamed up with Eventive, an event management platform to bring the 13 feature films and 33 short films to festival attendees at home from Oct. 22 to Oct. 24. Jennings said he is looking at ways to engage the audience in discussion after watching films and bring in the filmmakers and directors for conference calls, but has not decided exactly how he will facilitate the conversation at this time.
The festival opened submissions for new films in February and ended the call for entries mid-June. Jennings said there was around 120 hours worth of submissions. Jennings and members of the Eastern Oregon Film Festival made up the program committee that selected the films. Jennings said he and about five other people watched all of the film submissions.
The festival welcomes all genres and styles of filmmaking but required films be less than a year old and completed before April 2019. Jennings said this keeps topics fresh and this festival is often one of the stops a filmmaker makes before looking at distribution for their project.
“We are working to keep it cutting edge,” Jennings said. “We are really working towards developing relationships with new and young filmmakers.”
Jennings said he also is working to develop an overarching theme for this year’s festival because many of the films encompass the rural landscape and culture of Eastern Oregon.