BWFF flyerWhen you think of Northern Wisconsin, you probably think of a cold wintry wonderland, not a place of food production and gathering. However, a series of short films at the Big Water Film Festival highlighted the very real abundance of the Northwoods. Entitled “Seedlings” the short films each focused on a different aspect of harvest taking place in Northern Wisconsin, from the gathering of wild rice by the Ojibwe people to collecting of crops by local farmers.

The short films in “Seedlings” were made by current undergraduate students at Northland College. Some of the students had made films before, and for others it was a totally new experience.

As a Northland student myself, it was a pleasure to see the work of my peers being showcased at the festival and to see the style of each student filmmaker come through. After the compilation was shown, audience members had the opportunity to ask questions of the student filmmakers who were then able to share more information about the process of editing and creating film.

“Seedlings” Film by Northland College student Axel Peterman

After the showing I spoke with one of the filmmakers, Marissa Olsen, and she described how much preparation and work went in to preparing even a short film, saying, “To give you an idea of how long this took, we spent a minimum of 3 hours at each farm we went to and we visited three different farms for the film. Once we had all the footage we needed, the tedious process of editing began.”

However, with great effort came great reward. Marissa also described to me what it was like to have her film shown at the festival, “I have attended the Big Water Film Festival the last three years, so it was exciting to finally have a piece to share. There were a lot of nerves right before it started playing, wondering what people would think of it. At the same time it felt really good to finally be showing it to an audience after putting so much work into it.” She plans on potentially incorporating filmmaking into her career and described this experience as invaluable.

Feeling bad you missed out on “Seedlings”? Not to worry. The films of “Seedlings” are laying the groundwork for a full-length documentary that students will be helping to create this winter called “From Wisconsin with Love”, so stay tuned for more!

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