If it hasn’t been made evident by now, we love people here at AAT! We love hearing about their stories and passions for our community, but we also love hearing about what our fellow locals do and why they do it! For example, we have some wonderful neighbors who own/manager some fantastic local businesses and serve our town tremendously by doing so! This fact is why AAT has partnered up with our good friends at B3 Glass, to bring you all “Small Business Fridays!” Each week, we’ll feature a different, local small business and talk with its owner and hear about their journey, their business in general, as well as their heart for their customers and our city!
This week, “Small Business Fridays” is functioning more like “Big Event Fridays” because we’re going to be talking about an excellent annual gathering happening soon in our community. Joining us for this conversation is our buddy, Russ Minter. Last time AAT chatted with Russ, it was to get to know him, his family, and their local entertainment business. You can read that feature here. This time, we’re not sitting down with Russ, the gaming guru; we’re sitting down with Russ, the Film Committee Chair of the GBC (Great Basin College) film festival.
Yes, that’s right, Elko has its own film festival. No, it’s not a new event! In fact, 2020 will be the fifteenth incarnation of the cinema festivities. Russ has been involved, working hard behind the scenes, since year three!
If you’re unfamiliar with the festival, it takes place over two weekends and features movies from all over the world in the categories of documentary, live-action, and animation. The evenings even include tasty food and drink options from local culinary sponsors! You can find more details on 2020’s event in the poster below.
Thank you for joining AAT for another conversation, Russ! We got to know you a little bit the last time we spoke, but can you please tell us how you got involved with this film festival? How did the festival itself come to be?
“I’ve always been a big-time film buff; I have been since I was a teenager! Twelve years ago, I became a member of the committee that puts the festival on. When the two founders moved to Florida, they handed the reigns over to me, and I’ve been leading it ever since.
“The festival itself started with French films. Great Basin College got a grant from France to screen French films. So, for the first three to four years of the festival, that’s all we played. We had a decent-sized audience attend those films; however, I suggested that we expand it to show any movie. I recommended this when the grant was finished, and we had to self-fund the even through ticket sales. As we grew, we were able to get sponsors, so, thanks to our sponsors, we’re able to do this every year!
“We’re always trying to reach more people [to tell them] about this event. Even though this will be our fifteenth year, I’ll run into longtime locals who have no idea Elko has a film festival!”
Well, we’re happy to do our part to spread the word here at AAT, Russ! Now, the big feature film for this year’s gathering is a movie called Parasite. At the time of this blog’s publication, this movie has already won the best foreign film award at the Golden Globes, and it is nominated for best picture, director, foreign language film, original screenplay, production design, and editing at the 2020 Academy Awards. This is a highly respected movie! However, some people may be turned off by the fact that it does have subtitles and is in a foreign language. What would you say to encourage our neighbors still to come and check it out?
“I hope that does not turn people off because I promise them a real experience when it comes to this movie. I’ll paraphrase a quote given by the gentleman who received the award on behalf of the film at the Golden Globes by saying that if you can get over having to read those one-inch words, this movie can take you miles! I guarantee this movie will surprise and shock you! That’s what’s exciting about this. Whether it’s Parasite or one of the shorts, I guarantee you’ll see a film that will teach and show you something you didn’t know before.”
Wonderful! Thank you, Russ! Lastly, it’s apparent that you genuinely have a passion for cinema. What do you love most about the medium?
“My wife is a big reader. She prefers to read books to watching movies because it lets your imagination fill in the pictures. I agree with her; however, I like films because you get to see another person’s imagination. I also love film because it fills your senses! Cinema can touch you in a way that really gets the mind thinking. I love that!”
Tickets for the festival are ten dollars each night or twenty-five for a three-night package. You can purchase tickets now at the Western Folklife Center gift shop!
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See you around, Elko!
Written by: Anthony Crosby
Edited by: Nadara Merrill