by Lorie Lewis Ham
Windsong Productions is a Fresno-based video production company that just celebrated its three-year anniversary. KRL took a moment to chat with their Creative Director, Byron Watkins, about their Germ Film Festival and the 10th Germ Screening coming up next week.
KRL: What is the Germ Festival?
Byron: The Germ is an event held through Windsong Productions. Three times a year, we give out an inspiration to local filmmakers and ask them to go out and make a film using that “germ” of an idea. The inspiration could be anything at all- a word, a picture, a song. We’ll also give out limiters in addition to whatever the inspiration is. For instance, for our eighth Germ installment we’ve used the 1980s as the inspiration and “must include a dance sequence” as the limiter.
After we give people a few months to make their films, we set a date for everyone to turn in their submissions and then later that week we throw a screening party where we show the films to the public. We have a social hour before the films are shown, there’s a bar on site, and we always bring in a local food truck. For this installment, Zamore Pizza will be joining us for the second time.
KRL: Where can people get info on how to submit a Germ?
KRL: How and when did it first get started?
Byron: My friend, Anthony Taylor, and I were discussing that it was hard to get films done without a deadline and a box. Then we started wondering if others had the same problem we did? And then we thought: what if we put a deadline and a box out in the world and see if others wanted to make films with us? So we made up The Germ. And here we are.
KRL: What are Windsong’s goals in hosting this festival?
Byron: Since The Germ’s inception, over 100 movies have been made locally that might not have been made otherwise. Our main goal is to motivate people, from first time filmmakers all the way up to professionals, to get out and create something on a semi-regular basis. The films are never pitted against one another in competition. We host the screening so people can celebrate their work in a supportive environment. The screening also serves as a good place for people to network with other local filmmakers and fans.
KRL: Does it usually end up just being local filmmakers who submit, or do you have people from other places?
Byron: So far, this has been an event for local-area filmmakers. They might use friends or family from out of the area, but usually the person submitting the film is from Fresno or one of our surrounding communities. Though we have had a couple submit from LA. We don’t have any rules against people from out of the area submitting at this time, though.
KRL: How many entries do you typically get?
Byron: It ranges, but usually we get about 10-12 entries per Germ.
KRL: Why don’t you tell us about the screening? When, where, time? Food?
Byron: The screening for our 10th installment is Thursday, October 16 at the Windsong Productions offices, 7676 N Palm Ave., Suite 104, Fresno CA 93711. Social hour starts at 7 p.m. and Films are shown at 8 p.m. There is a bar on site and Zamore Pizza food truck will be there as well.
KRL: Anything else you would like to add?
Byron: There is still time for people to submit films. Submissions are due by 5 p.m. on Monday, October 13. For this milestone 10th installment, people can choose inspirations from any of the previous Germs. A complete list can be found at www.thegerm.org.
Windsong has the Germ events three times a year, so if you are a local filmmaker and you don’t have time to pull a film together for this event, start thinking about the next one. In the mean time, come out to enjoy the screening on the 16th! If you aren’t a local filmmaker, but are a lover of watching films, come out and support this local film event!
Check out more local arts and entertainment articles in KRL’s A & E section.