The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Stories to be told at the Eau Claire Film Festival

A look ahead at what’s to come at the Eau Claire International Film Festival
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This is a film about the life of Jim Hoffmaster, a Hollywood character actor known for his work as “Kermit” in “Shameless.”

The Eau Claire International Film Festival (originally the Eau Claire World Film Festival) is returning to Eau Claire for its eighth year from Oct. 6-8 in the Woodland Theater of Davies Student Center. The event is an opportunity for film directors to submit their movies and have them screened over three days. 

The festival will feature several films ranging from stories about surviving Hollywood, to coming-of-age stories

Chris Herriges, Eau Claire native and UWEC alum, is the festival’s creator. He said he started it back in 2015 and worked with a partner in the beginning but started running it solo three years ago.

Herriges said he started his journey as a filmmaker himself, but was faced with challenges trying to get his films screened, until he found a new route.

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“I started the festival because I had made a feature film and I had met with some frustration trying to enter film festivals. Then I learned about the film festival business and I said ‘Maybe it’s a good idea to start something,’” Herriges said.

When looking for a city to start the festival in, Herriges said that Eau Claire was the perfect spot. Due to its size, the films are able to be recognized, but not get lost in too big of a city.

Herriges said the process of starting the event begins with other directors and filmmakers submitting their works online. Then a panel of event organizers watch the films and vote on which ones will be screened.

One of the films that will be shown is called “Acting Like Nothing is Wrong.” This is a film about the life of Jim Hoffmaster, a Hollywood character actor known for his work as “Kermit” in “Shameless.” The documentary covers his upbringing in foster care.

The film’s director, Jane Rosemont, said she met Hoffmaster while living in Michigan. The two would have conversations and Hoffmaster would talk about his life, inspiring Rosemont to make the film.

“I had seen a film about a foster kid, and I thought I could present it in a different way,” Rosemont said. “I thought that this was going to be a 10 to 15-minute film about foster care, but it took off in a completely different direction.”

Along with Hoffmaster’s upbringing and trying to find his family, Rosemont said she wanted to look at the mental health he carried, and how he navigates Hollywood now with those issues. 

“He’s 61, and his problems are not solved. There are issues in the film that he still has issues with. They’re not easy to stop,” Rosemont said, “It deals with some pretty unpleasant issues, but it’s a really upbeat film. I wanted people to walk away with hope.”

Rosemont said that all film festivals are different, but some of the best ones are the ones that are smaller, and how that changes the experience

“It’s interesting how many film festivals don’t seem to pay that much attention to the filmmakers. I was really impressed with Chris for contacting me… I love that, cause that’s why I made the film, I want people to relate to it,” Rosemont said.

Rosemont said she enjoys the reactions of people who view the film and want people to take away something from it. She will not be available to come to the event, but Herriges said that the directors of some of the films will be there.

There is an array of films to watch across the three days at the festival. According to Herriges, the event will be free for all students who show their student ID at the door.

Agbara can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Godwin Agbara, Arts & Life Editor
Godwin Agbara is a second-year english and journalism student. This is his first semester at The Spectator. In his spare time he makes music with his band DOG PAULSON. Sometimes he watches birds, and sometimes he bakes.

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