Family-friendly film fest returns in June

HyartThe Hyart Film Fest is scheduled to take place June 19 – 21 at the Hyart Theatre in Lovell. Organizer Jason Zeller said loyal followers of the festival should expect a lot of variety, as usual, and something for the whole family.

The festival does not accept films with nudity, bad language, especially the “f-word” or “super-gory” violence. Zeller hopes that by limiting this content, the festival will remain, for the most part, a “family-friendly” event.

With the call of entries officially ended, a committee is in the final stages of reviewing the 160 entries, roughly 400 hours worth of film, it received this year. Zeller expects less than 20 percent to be selected for viewing by the public at the festival.

“Eighty percent of the films we see, you do not see,” explained Zeller. “We are very picky about what we let in the festival.”

He said the committee received films from all over the world again this year.

“This is very much an international film festival even though it doesn’t say so in the title,” he said. “One year I counted and we received 116 entries from other countries.”

This is the fifth year for the festival, and Zeller said he is always amazed by the range of entries. This year brings comedy, action, drama, sci-fi, a few top-notch animated films and more.

Zeller said he plans to offer a “guys and gals” night, where one film is shown that would typically appeal to men, followed by a film that would typically appeal to women. He said the special night is most likely to take place on a Friday night.

He said there are a few films from Wyoming filmmakers, as well, though he wished there were more. One of those films was submitted by Ethan McDowell, an actor/filmmaker from Lovell, who now lives in Southern California. McDowell, who submits a film every year, will play the lead role in the film, which is entitled “2020.”  Zeller describes it as a sci-fi film set in a future run amok by terrorists. McDowell plays a “Robocop” type character in a world divided into good and bad zones.

Zeller said since the committee is still in the process of notifying filmmakers that their films have been accepted, he is not sure how many filmmakers will visit the community this year.

The blocks will be similar to previous years, with a showing at 7 p.m. each night, a special 9:30 p.m. showing of “darker” films on Friday night and a children’s block on Saturday at 3 p.m.

By Patti Carpenter