The Harbinger Online

Wild & Scenic Film Festival


Photo by Kaitlyn Stratman. Multimedia by Audrey Kesler. 

Senior Devon Dietrich organized the Wild & Scenic Film Festival that took place on Oct.19 and 20 at the Glenwood Arts Theater.

The Wild and Scenic Film Festival was an event for the community to explore the environmental issues and movements of the world through professionally-made films that ranged from 3-10 minutes long. These films allowed the East community to explore environmental issues and movements across the globe.

“I think that these films will inspire high schoolers to see the good in the world and want to take part in it,” Dietrich said.

Dietrich attended the festival two years ago when it was held at Burns & McDonnell in Kansas City. Motivated by the inspiring stories, she decided to organize the event and open it up to students at East.

She reached out to the headquarters of the Wild and Scenic organization and explained her plan to hold the event for high school students. The organization eagerly agreed, Dietrich said, and they gave her approval to host the event as long as she raised the money for the rights of the films.

Coalition partnered with Dietrich and managed to raise around $3,500 for the rights of the films for the two-night event. David Muhammad, Coalition sponsor, helped Dietrich spread the word.

“Devon came to me because she knew Coalition Club is all about global humanitarian causes and such,” Muhammad said. “We just kind of slapped Coalition’s name on everything to push it a little bit more. Coalition is really known in the school, so that helped her out.”

Once the money was raised, Dietrich began organizing the event. She had to pick out her favorite 14 short films out of the 100 choices Wild and Scenic Film Festival headquarters had given her the rights to. When picking which films to include in the show, she had to consider a logical and interesting order to play them in.

“It was difficult to pick the films because I had a lot to choose from,” Dietrich said. “They all cover a wide variety of topics and places and I didn’t want a bunch of the same content. I had to think about which would be my main video and how I would transition from video to video.”

After picking and finalizing funds for the videos, Dietrich worked to advertise the event. She hung posters throughout the halls, made an Instagram and Facebook account with information, asked local community organizations to send emails through their current mailing list and even convinced 32 teachers to give out extra credit to students who attended.

Among those who attended was sophomore Megan Walstrom, who saw the film with friends.

“All the videos were very fast-paced and interesting and there wasn’t a time when I was bored during them. I would definitely be interested seeing more of them,” Walstrom said.

Dietrich felt that the two nights were very successful and exceeded both her and Muhammad’s expectations. Two years ago the turnout was less than 100 people, and this year around 600 people attended between the two nights.

The money raised from the event went to local outreach and community service programs such as Coalition Club, the U.S. Green Building Council – Central Plains Community, American Society of Civil Engineers, Bridging the Gap, Jeffrey L. Bruce & Co., ASP Enterprises, Fine Arts Theaters and the Kansas International Film Festival.

Muhammad has heard from both students and teachers that they were very impressed with the event. Many have said the content was very moving and created a sense of awareness and cautiousness for viewers.

“People didn’t expect the professional quality of the films. There was some emotional tugging in some of the films and it really hit some people in their feels,” Muhammad said.

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