Out of Character photo

Filmmakers J.J. Hill and Liberty O’Dell discuss their film, “Out of Character, at the 2019 Eastern Oregon Film Festival. The La Grande festival has partnered with the Ashland Independent Film Festival, which is providing a virtual film fest due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

LA GRANDE — The Eastern Oregon Film Festival is collaborating this year with the Ashland Independent Film Festival in showcasing independent shorts and films.

While the La Grande-based festival still plans to hold its own event in the fall, movies lovers can enjoy independent films online May 22-June 14 via the Ashland group’s “Virtual Festival.” Visit the membership page of the EOFF’s website, www.eofilmfest.com, for a link to the online movie fest, which includes a discount for a subscription.

“We wanted to provide content at a special rate and for each of these festivals we partner with to reach out to their members and remind people we are still here,” said Molly Kreuzman, communications coordinator for the Ashland festival.

EOFF director Chris Jennings said the local festival typically partners with other organizations to build an audience and maintain efforts to become a well-known regional arts event.

With COVID-19 restrictions in place, Jennings said, it has been difficult to fundraise for the October festival. Partnering with Ashland’s festival provides EOFF with a way to gain publicity and garner additional support.

Kreuzman said she is hoping Ashland Independent Film Festival also can become a resource for festivals such as EOFF in tackling the virtual landscape of hosting film festivals. Jennings said EOFF and other film festivals are working to position themselves to be digital events if bans on large gatherings remain. Having Ashland Independent take on the challenge early could be valuable in providing guidance on how to hold these events.

“We want to keep the festival. It will happen to some degree and in some capacity,” Jennings said. “Our submissions are strong. It may be lighter/leaner as fundraising has been difficult, but we are still excited. This partnership opportunity is good for Ashland and good for us.”

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