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Arts and Entertainment

Ozark Mountain Webfest to Showcase Local and International Online Streaming Content

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Ozark Mountain Webfest will be held later this month, and its organizers hope the event will show lawmakers that a film production incentive program is needed in Missouri.  The state had such a program, but it expired in November 2013.

Festival co-director, Shelley Waggener, who co-starred in Winter’s Bone, which was shot in southern Missouri, said the last film to benefit from the incentive program was “Gone Girl,” filmed in Cape Girardeau.  She hopes bringing producers to Branson will help bring production back to the area.

"We thought if we could show them the area in a location that is known for tourism that they could see what there is to offer in locations, they could see the talent, we could kind of meet and kind of discuss these things and show them projects of our own as well as display their projects," said Waggener.

There are a lot of talented people and beautiful locations in southwest Missouri, according to festival co-director, Jason Brasier.  But he and Waggener said there are a lot of projects with stories based in Missouri that aren’t being shot here.  For example, the film, “3 Billboards Outside Ebbings, Missouri,” was shot in North Carolina in 2016.

"We're losing out on a lot of job creation for a lot of these talented people here in the Ozarks," said Brasier.

"And not just the people behind the camera, but we're talking about jobs for everybody," said Waggener, " I mean, from the seamstress to the construction worker to the office supply store down the street, restaurants, they will all benefit from having film come into the area."

According to Waggener, they’ve invited a state lawmaker to Ozark Mountain Webfest to mingle with filmmakers and discuss the incentive program and hopefully put it back on the table.

Ozark Mountain Webfest is a film festival for streaming content, according Brasier.

"Stuff that you would see on YouTube and stuff like Netflix, essentially," said Brasier.  "A lot of independent filmmakers are doing online-based projects such as that.  And web series is essentially short form television."

Entries were received from around the world, including Spain, China, Australia, Canada and the U.S.  Waggener said the event aims to bring to light production for the web that’s currently going on in the area.

"Bringing that to light will help a lot in going to the next step of bringing more production into town and teaching new jobs and education and things like that," said Waggener.

The event will include screenings and panels covering topics such as producing, directing, distribution and casting. 

At an awards ceremony, winners will be announced in a variety of categories, including drama, documentary/reality, pilots and sci-fi/horror.

Tickets to Ozark Mountain Webfest, September 28-30 at the Branson Event Center, 4230 N. Gretna Rd., are $25, and students and teachers get in free with a school i.d.  Anyone who takes five pounds of nonperishable items or pet food will be entered to win a swag bag.  Learn more about the webfest at ozarkmtnwebfest.com