Stage is ready for another film festival

FREELAND FILM FESTIVAL Event Coordinator Evelyn Galster points towards the Thrasher Opera House stage, which festival films will be screened. Joe Schulz photo

by Joe Schulz

Lights … Camera … Action!

The Freeland Film Festival will bring stories to inspire back to Green Lake Friday, Sept. 13 to Sunday, Sept. 15.

The goal of the festival is to use film to raise awareness for social issues such as conservation, ecosystems, animal trafficking, human trafficking and the environment.

Event coordinator Evelyn Galster noted despite the heavy subject matter, she doesn’t want the festival to be all gloom and doom. Rather she wants the event to inspire people to do their part to create change.

“If people are not aware of what’s going on, things will never change,” she said.

The festival will see a few minor changes this year but will remain largely the same.

One change is that this year the festival will be charging filmmakers $20 an entry.

“Last year we had 1,000 films,” Galster said. “We didn’t charge last year because we were new and we wanted people to come; little did we know we would get that many.”

Galster noted charging $20 an entry is minuscule compared to film festivals in large cities, such as Chicago, which usually charge $200 to $300.

“We have films from afar, and we have local films,” she said. “We want everybody to come and everybody has their preferences.”

Another change for the festival is the time of year.

Galster noted she moved the festival from June to September in an attempt to attract students from Ripon College.

“We want a nice diverse crowd, we want different age groups and possibly they [college students] would like to volunteer,” she said. “Maybe some of them would be interested in collaborating on different projects.”

This year, Galster also is trying to expand the marketing for the festival in order to increase turnout. She mostly marketed the festival last year to areas where people could easily drive, such as Appleton and Oshkosh, while this year she’s marketing out of state.

“A lot of the people that come to Green Lake in the summer are Chicago people; they have homes on the lake,” Galster said. “We want to make sure we’re marketing in areas where people coming up here will say, ‘I want to make sure I’m there that weekend.’”

The old adage “the more things change the more they stay the same” is fitting for the Freeland Film Festival, as many of the key components will remain the same.

The festival will once again feature panels, live music, art and workshops with the public, critics, students, aspiring filmmakers and activists.

The festival also will utilize the same venues as last year including the Thrasher Opera House, Caestecker Public Library, Town Square and the American Legion Hall.

Galster noted the beauty of the festival is that someone could park their car and literally leave it there all weekend because everything is within walking distance.

“Something like a film festival brings people here, they’ll eat here, they’ll spend the weekend and probably want to come back,” she said. “It’s not just about our festival, but it’s about what we can do for Green Lake.”

Galster believes anyone who enjoys stories of hope, inspiration and revitalization should attend the festival.

“Good stories and storytellers have always been a key to positive change throughout history, and perhaps now more than ever,” she said.