Autumn is upon us and farmers are harvesting the crops they have sweated over for the past months. But farmers are not the only ones preparing for a harvest.
The 12th Annual Harvest of Arts Film Festival will again be offering a crop of short films from local artists. The two-hour event at 7 tonight at The Granada, 1020 Mass., will showcase a variety of work ranging from animation to documentary.
Some of the entries included will be the documentary "El Jardin," created by Ranjit Arab and Aaron Paden. The documentary deals with a Kansas State Board of Education member who wants to remove children of illegal immigrants from public schools.
Other highlights among the 24 films on the event's menu will be "Shadow of the Czar," a work by Robert Baker that features dancers and poets. And "The Pill," by Maya Weil and Hillary Spratt, chronicles two junior high students whose history project about Margaret Sanger and contraception take them to a national competition.
The festival is created and produced by Mark von Schlemmer, a 1990 Kansas University master's graduate with a degree in theatre and film production. He is responsible for picking the films that are showcased. Several factors play into the selection process, including time and content, but there is no central theme to the festival's latest edition.
"The one thing I have noticed this year is that most of the entries are political in a way," von Schlemmer says. "They are making social commentaries."
The festival has played to packed houses for the past 11 years.
"A challenge in the past was finding a place to properly project the films," he explains. "The space and size at The Granada is perfect for showing this work."
As a filmmaking veteran himself, von Schlemmer is excited by the content and messages of these entries.
He says, "I am very appreciative that current events are starting to weigh in on the filmmakers and they are using the medium to get their message out."