Hillsboro in bloom: Germinate International Film Fest

Hillsboro in bloom: Germinate International Film Fest

Story by Adrienne McGee Sterrett

Photos courtesy of OSU Extension Highland County

Clinton County native Brooke Beam recently began her first professional job at OSU Extension Highland County, just finished with school. She studied ag communication at OSU and as part of that, she took some courses in the theater department and on the topic of filmmaking.

Now the agriculture and natural resources/community development educator at OSU Extension Highland County, Beam, Ph.D., noticed a natural connection between ag and video and explored it.

Video communication is a huge trend in and of itself, and films that celebrate rural communities and agriculture are trending as well. Part of this is education on what food production really entails, part is celebrating farm families and another part is education about our natural environment. Beam was eager to help fill the niche, and a film festival has now been organized.

Germinate International Film Fest is next month in Hillsboro, with community events planned for downtown and film screenings taking place at a 400-seat theater at Southern State Community College.

“It is the first film festival for Ohio State Extension,” she said. “This is the first kind of international film festival for an office to offer in the country. … We encourage anybody who’s interested in agriculture, the environment, rural communities, food or they just like good movies to come out and see us.”

Germinate means to start to grow.

“There’s just no place to share these kinds of films … so we wanted to help fill the niche,” Beam said.

Entries were welcome in the following categories: short documentary, feature documentary, short narrative, feature narrative, short, virtual reality, student films (college age), youth films (age 18 and younger) and films produced by a college or OSU Extension.

“Right now, we have a little over 14 hours of content that has been submitted,” she said, expecting that to increase as the film festival draws closer. Film studies experts are reviewing each film for inclusion.

A third so far are foreign, arriving from Germany, Italy, Canada, England and India.

Some of the films certain to be screened are “Mission Blue,” “Julian Price,” “SkyGrazers,” “Combined,” “The Pollinators,” “Chef’s Table: Christina Tosi,” “Birthplace,” “Forage Focus,” “Raising the Steaks,” “Losing Ground,” “Conservations Kids: A Green STEM Documentary,” “Dizhsa Nabani,” “To The Land,” and “Virtual Reality Exploration of Earth’s Cryosphere.”

These films are produced by The Ohio State University, Netflix, the American Angus Association, Ohio University, Haverford College and independent filmmakers. Several have won awards at other film festivals.

Organizers also opened the festival to entries in a still photography category, and a juried show will be on exhibit downtown.

The festival will also include workshops to give people of all ages a hands-on opportunity to learn.

“We’re putting down our roots in our first year,” she said. “So we should have a little bit of something for everyone, and it should be a great weekend.”


Germinate International Film Fest

Aug. 16 and 17

Downtown Hillsboro and Southern State Community College, 100 Hobart Drive

Tickets to the many facets of the event are available at the Highland County Extension Office at 937-393-1918 or online at https://filmfreeway.com/GerminateInternationalFilmFest/tickets

A detailed schedule with ticket prices is not yet available, but here are daily highlights:


Downtown Hillsboro, at the decommissioned fire department building

• Special farmers market at lunchtime

• Workshop by Meghan Thoreau, Pickaway County extension educator, on teaching robotics and drone technologies to youth

• Workshop by Dr. Brooke Beam on the history of agriculture in film

• Photo exhibit and virtual reality experience available until dinner

• Screening of “Mission Blue” and “Birthplace”

• Dinner in the Old Hillsboro Fire Department

• Transition to Southern State to continue screenings and view an outdoor light show


Southern State Community College

• Screenings continue in the morning

Downtown Hillsboro, at the decommissioned fire department building

• Photo exhibit and virtual reality experience available

• Tour of historic downtown Hillsboro

Highland County Administration Building, 119 Governor Foraker Place, large meeting room

• Workshop on “Chef’s Table with Christina Tosi.” Netflix film, shot in the kitchen of Tosi’s aunt, Sylvia Meyers, in Clinton County. Tosi is founder and chef of Milk Bar.

• Workshop on beef production and how different methods affect taste with Dr. Lyda Garcia, a meat science assistant professor at OSU.

Karnes Orchard, 8200 Worley Mill Road

• Farm-to-table dinner with red carpet event beginning at 6 p.m. An awards ceremony for the festival will be held at the dinner. Dr. Jim Linnie, owner of White Clover Farm, is donating the grass-fed beef for the dinner, which will have about 100-150 seats available. The evening will close with an outdoor film and astronomy workshop by Dr. Tom Blaine, associate professor at OSU. An outdoor light show is also planned.

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