Canton Film Fest Features Kent Stark Filmmakers

Of course a few North Canton students have their hands in this year's Canton Film Festival. Check out our story to see how they're participating this year.

This year’s Canton Film Fest will have everything from music videos to environmental films and — a new twist — zombies in the flesh.

In addition to a costume contest that features zombies, ghouls and whatever else might earn someone a $100 prize, the festival, which runs Thursday through Saturday at the Canton Palace Theatre, will feature five different film categories. Those are narrative, music video, story of Stark (County), horror and short green films.

Festival Director James Waters II said he’s gotten submissions from high school and college students as well as teachers. One came from Tonya Higgins, who’s studying biology and conservation at . (Higgins was featured in , when North Canton Patch featured the campus’ first Environmental Media course.)

Higgins’ film, which she composed as a group at Kent State Stark, aims to educate people on the , or hydraulic fracturing to obtain natural gas. She already has and in Canton. She says the feeling of submitting it to a film festival is a little weightier.

“It’s definitely a different feeling,” she said. “There’s a little bit of nervousness and anticipation because more people are going to see it. Even in the last few months we’ve seen so much more interest in the subject and a lot more people having more information to base their opinions on.”

Higgins was part of a group that logged 2,000 miles in four weeks as they traveled to Pennsylvania, New York and other areas to conduct interviews and gather information for their film. They even have a campus group to show for their efforts: Take Action, Spread Knowledge — and a successful Facebook page.

Higgins and her group members have learned a lot since they first started researching fracking, and she said they’re excited to educate the public through the film festival. She mentioned one point she wants the audience to take away from their film.

“If something goes wrong, there’s no way to fix it; that’s been one of our biggest points.”

She said her group plans to keep adding to the film after the festival and continuing to spotlight the dangers of fracking.

Some people who they had talked weeks ago have even changed their opinion on the topic, she said.

“People we talked to who were pro-drilling, they turned around and said, ‘Hey, this may not be such a good idea in our own backyard.’”

The green films category is from 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. Friday. Here's the full lineup.

Waters said the festival also will feature a film by Professor David Smeltzer: "‘Water webs, Watersheds, Why should we care?" It plays at 7 p.m. Friday.


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