Krista Corner Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
The wheels in Havre went round and round Friday, Saturday and Sunday as the second annual Yellow Bus Creations Film Festival saw a huge increase in the numbers all around from last year's festival. "We had so much better ticket sales this year," said Yellow Bus member Rita Campbell. The focus of this year's festival included environmental and personal wellness, with documentaries shown to featuring different types of healing throughout the world. Yellow Bus Creations features local artists and business people focused on promoting a better, more peaceful world through the creative arts and social activism by breaking through barriers of culture, sexual orientation and race. Member Kris Shaw said the festival group hosted double the amount, from last yeat of attendees for the Friday night showing and discussion. "The discussion probably went on for a good hour," communications proffessor Mark Seiffert added. "We finally had to say, 'okay, we're done' because people were ready to go. People were not only asking questions of the panelists, but they also talked a great deal about insurance companies and premiums how it's a conflict of interest to run a profit when they deny the very thing people pay them for. People shared their own stories about when things worked well and when things didn't." About 50 people filed into the MAT/ Montana State University-Northern Little Theatre Friday for the showing of "Sicko," written and directed by Michael Moore, after which an engaging discussion seemed well-received. Leading the discussion, Yellow Bus Creations members gathered a panel of three people who had experience with health care in other countries. Northern faculty and staff members, education professor Curtis Smeby, assistant volleyball coach Steve Leggitt and history professor Jaakko Puisto sat on the panel for the discussion. Smeby and Leggitt are Canadian and Puisto is Finnish. Leggitt also told of his experience with the Mexican health care system during the discussion. Seiffert, also of Northern, mediated. "There was an excellent discussion," Campbell said. The film festival crew saw different people attending the different shows, on average about 20 to 25 people milled around the festival all day Saturday, Shaw said. Sunday brought a much smaller, Albeit, enthusiastic crowd. Audience members included the judging panel for the Hi-Line Shorts competition and a few locals. Saturday, attendees saw documentaries such as “What the Bleep Do We Know,” “The Whisperer,” “Shortcut to Nirvana,” “Not In Our Town” and “Primary Colors." Changes from last year's festival also included the numbers of entries made to the Hi-Line Shorts competition. This year, judges viewed close to 15 entries in the competition compared to last year's two entries. The competition featured films from area students on various topics that dealt with nonsocial issues as well as a few that involved social issues like meth. After scoring entries, judges visited while Campbell tallied the scores. "Some were pretty artistic," Betsy Pollington said. "It was pretty ambitious," Caleb Hutchens added. Bruce Patera said he was somewhat disappointed by the entries. "I didn't see one thing about racism," he said. "I was surprised there were no ethnic issues since we were in the national news," Pollington agreed. Patera suggested the group, next year, suggest the area high schools utilize classes other than media classes. "Instead of having just media classes, they should get history and English I'd like to see more social issues, too," Patera said. Attendee Samantha Clawson said she felt the contest was entertaining and informative. In addition to the shorts competition, two Montana documentaries were shown, Sunday. “The Little Red Truck” showcased the Missoula Children’s Theatre. Traveling teams of actors/directors travel for about three to five months out of the year, bringing theatre to communities that may otherwise not get exposure to the arts. “The Hobart Shakespearians,” Shaw said was about a teacher who chose to make a difference in his fifth-graders’ lives. “It is about the Hobart Elementary School in Los Angeles,” she said. “The fifth-grade teacher teaches his kids that want to learn in an after school program i t ’s a clas s about Shakespeare. The students were all Asian and Latino kids who had English as second language. The class teaches them to not give in to peer pressure ” Sundays during the film festival are expectedly much slower than the rest of the festival, for now, members said. “Once we start getting more entries in the shorts competition, I think we’ll see an increase in those numbers,” Shaw said. Overall, the festival generated a thought provoking energy and was considered a huge success, Shaw added. “We know there are people out there already working on films for next year,” she said.. Local Charlie Grant thought the film festival was an excellent idea and said he enjoyed the overall experience. "It's what the town needs," he said. "Plus there was a fellowship of all of us who attended." Grant added that several audience members from the Saturday night crowd dined together after the day's film showings closed. For more informat ion on Yel low Bus Creations, including ways to support the group financially or by volunteering, call 265-2365 or visit them on the Web at yellowbuscreations. Org. Yellow Bus Creations is a non-profit organization.