Checking Out the Local Scene

April 13, 2018 | Branden Schwab

SATO48’s filming weekend is upon us and already more than 100 teams have signed up – a clear indication that some serious creative energy is afoot. Tonite, teams receive a secret envelope (“Inspiration Packet”) containing the criteria for the project and marking the start of the mad dash to create a five-minute short film before the clock runs out on Sunday. To help support the event, SGFC is sponsoring the Movie Poster Competition. 

Whether it’s through a 30 second promo, a short film, or a full length feature, thought leaders, business owners, marketers, filmmakers, video producers & audiences recognize and understand the compelling nature and lasting power of stories told through moving pictures.

Film & motion media is enjoying some much deserved limelight lately, being brought to the forefront of our creative community as resources, programs and services illuminate a wealth of possibilities that are available to locals. This reflection of a groundswell of support for the power of the medium to tell stories of human connection is a testament to Springfield’s talented pool of creatives.

“Celebrating exceptional things found in unexpected places,” last month’s Rated SGF Film Fest sought to “create an authentic connection, blurring the boundary between storyteller and audience.” With a film workshop at the Moxie Cinema, screenings at the 102-year old Fox Theatre on the Square, and an after-party at Hotel Vandivort (originally a Masonic temple, also built in 1906), place played an important role in the festival.

John Sellars, Executive Director at the History Museum of the Square (which manages the Fox Theatre) was happy to host Springfield’s newest film fest. Sellars spent his younger days as a self-described “Marketing Man”, and now treasures what he calls the “best job he’s ever had” as a go-to local historian for downtown Springfield.

The historic theatre lent a sense of local legitimacy and festival organizers were keen to layer in meaning to film selections. Director David Lowry’s A Ghost Story, followed by a Q&A, drew crowds for the Saturday night show, and was preceded earlier in the day by Walt Disney Picture’s Pete’s Dragon (also directed by Lowery). Prior to a closure in 1982, the Fox featured many family friendly films including a number of Disney debuts.

The matinee feature for the festival, Saturday Church, included Q&A with lead actor Luka Kain, who also has a special connection to Springfield that was revealed in a heartfelt post leading up to the festival:

Last summer, the Film & Media Association of Springfield came to the Downtown Springfield Association with an idea for a local film fest and the DSA ran with it. Led by organizers Lillian Stone (Communications Manager at DSA) and Bethany Bell (Events Manager), the team relied on their partnership with the advisory board of local experts that included Brandon Goodwin (Blend), Josh Pfaff (Locke + Stache) and John McQueary (Hotel Vandivort).

Featuring local shorts “Ghoul School”, “Posers”, and “Counting to 1000”, Rated SGF recognized passion projects by students and young professionals as they carve out a niche for themselves. Check out the IndieGoGo video that the makers of “Posers” put together last year for a crowdfunding effort for their thesis project:

To capture the quirky, down-to-earth, Midwestern vibe of the festival with a tongue-in-cheek tone, DSA turned to local freelance graphic designer Sally Terry to create the logo and iconography. Terry’s art became swag for filmophiles to commemorate the festival and proudly display their support.

Check out the design process and options that led to the final:



A poster by Halie Branson (Graphic Design Intern at DSA) “makes the fridge” at the eFactory’s downtown co-working space.


Mark Montgomery’s illustrated poster for the upcoming Essential Coen Bros. series at the Moxie features classic characters from “Raising Arizona”, “Fargo”, “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?”, and “No Country for Old Men”. In the top left is the bounty hunter biker who throws grenades: “I liked how the simple shapes of his face looked like a highway in some desert landscape,” Mark explains.


Local Shorts Featured at Rated SGF


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