ME Film Festival President Speaks Out about Festival Changes​

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Festival organizers for the ME Film Festival have announced the festival will be going virtual. “Putting safety guidelines in place doesn’t save money, time, or extra headaches, but if it helps keep one person from getting sick, it’s worth it,” says Jeremiah Bennett, president and chair of the board for the ME Film Festival. “Furthermore, we will only partner with organizations, companies, and communities who are trying to fight this global pandemic, not be part of the problem.”

Originally set to take place in Eatonton, Georgia at the Plaza Arts Center, filmmakers from various countries were expected to attend the week-long festival Nov. 15 – 21. Given the rise of the covid delta variant, filmmakers, festival donors and supporters inquired what protocols would be implemented to ensure the safety of all who plan to attend. Based on their concerns and suggestions, The ME Film Festival requested protocols including spaced seating, temperature checks when entering any event, masks worn for all events, and covid vaccination cards or a negative covid test (no more than three days old).

According to the executive director of the Plaza Arts Center, “The list does not comply with the governor’s executive order and [we]are not comfortable with [these requests].”

Organizers quickly pivoted, making the decision to screen online. “No one’s health should be put at risk for convenience or monetary gain,” remarks Bennett.

The festival recently formed a partnership with a new streaming platform set to launch in late October 2021.The partnership will provide filmmakers with a new opportunity for their films to be viewed online. Unlike most streaming platforms, the Atlanta-based Stream MOKO features curated uplifting and inspiring content, as well as original shows designed to help viewers live their best lives.

“We want to help support independent filmmakers, for [their films]to get more exposure,” notes founder and CEO Thomas Cantley. “Stream MOKO is about bringing people together and we are super excited to have the opportunity to offer a platform that supports the film community.”

The 9th Season of the ME Festival will happen in May 2022. For information on the festival, upcoming films or more, visit www.mefilmfest.com

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