Come one, come all to the Germinate International Film Fest, featuring a diverse range of films highlighting agriculture and rural communities! The Highland County Extension Office is pleased to announce the inaugural festival will be held on August 16 and 17, 2019, in Hillsboro, Ohio. Germinate means to grow and the purpose of this film festival is to grow knowledge about agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities.

Historically, researchers have found that rural communities and the agricultural industry have been depicted in entertainment media as outdated, uneducated, and as fodder for comedic material in film and television programming.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. 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 Germinate International Film Fest is to provide a forum for open discussion about agricultural, environmental, and rural community development topics important to the public. While rural areas represent 97 percent of the United States’ landmass, only 19.3 percent of the population resides in a rural area. Less than two percent of the nation’s population identifies as farmers. This film festival will provide an opportunity to showcase the agricultural industry from the perspective of agricultural producers, researchers, and rural community members.

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. 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.

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. The festival will fill a void in current festival line-ups to highlight rural communities and the natural environments and industries surrounding them. Ten percent of the selected films will be sourced from local filmmakers from Ohio, allowing for attendees of the festival to be able to connect with local producers and filmmakers from the area surrounding Highland County, Ohio. Filmmakers of all skill and expertise levels are encouraged to apply. Additionally, there will be a still photography division for additional competition.

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.

Southern State Community College will host the screenings of the festival at their Central Campus in Hillsboro, Ohio. Hillsboro is located about an hour from Dayton, Cincinnati, and Columbus, making the location for the Germinate International Film Fest an easy commute from any of Ohio’s metropolitan areas. 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, and community development topics. The workshops will be held at various locations throughout Highland County.

For more information about the festival, contact the Highland County Extension Office at 937-393-1918. Tickets will be available for purchase in July through the Highland County Extension Office.

Prizes will be awarded for:

Best Documentary
Best Short Documentary
Best Local Documentary
Best Narrative
Best Short Narrative
Best Local Narrative
Best Short Film
Best VR
Best Student Film
Best Scholarly Video
Viewer's Choice
Best Agriculture Photograph
Best Nature Photograph
Best Rural Community Photograph

To be considered for screening, films must be related to the broad concepts of agriculture, the environment, natural resources, food, rural communities, and/or workforce development. Films must adhere to the time restrictions established in the categories section. Films will be reviewed once the entry fee has been paid. Films should be suitable for all audiences. No nudity, profanity, or explicit scenes. Films in languages other than English must contain English subtitles for consideration. Each applicant is responsible for the copyright of music in their film. Film entries should be submitted as an MP4 or h264 file, photographs should be submitted as a JPEG. Photography contest participants will be responsible for the display and mounting of their photographs. Photography contest details will be provided upon acceptance into the festival. All entries will be reviewed and selected by a committee. Entry into the festival will be made by the committee and decisions are final. Entrants will be notified by July 21, 2019, of their applicant status.

Overall Rating
  • Annmarie Aronoff

    This festival was organized extremely well. It was an intimate gathering with great networking and collaboration opportunities, creative events including dinners, workshops, and tours, personable hosts who were so gracious and thorough, excellent communication and promotions, and just an overall pleasurable atmosphere. Uniquely situated with a state of the art theater, an orchard setting for the awards dinner, and easy access to several cities. As a filmmaker, I really enjoyed the audience and organizers who made it a great place to exhibit the film. Truly one of the best film festivals I've attended as it captured the essence of what a focused theme festival accomplishes: awareness for a cause, not pretentious, and an opportunity to celebrate and discuss a shared perspective in films. Great selection of films and lovely filmmakers to chat with. Brooke Beam brought an incredible vision to life with this festival. Highly recommend! So grateful to be selected for an award as well!

    September 2019
  • Nancy Bentley

    With its unique focus on the land and people who animate rural America, we were honored to have our community garden film selected for the Germinate festival. It was an extremely well-organized, friendly, and fun festival. Many thanks to all those who hosted the festival. Best wishes for continued success in the coming years.

    August 2019