LOSTINE — Closing out 2020 on a note of creativity and connection, MidValley Theatre Co., of Lostine, is hosting an online film and photography festival, with submissions to run Dec. 26-28.

A broad range of submissions are welcome, including short films (less than seven minutes), ultra-short films (less than one minute), nature, art and other still photography. General entries were accepted starting Tuesday, Dec. 15, and can include original work done throughout the calendar year. The festival will also include a traditional 48-hour film challenge.

The challenge is a film competition in which teams of filmmakers are assigned a genre, a character, a prop and a line of dialogue, and have 48 hours to create a short film containing those elements.

“There just haven’t been a lot of theatrical opportunities this year, and this seemed like the perfect outlet,” said Jennifer Hobbs, the event organizer and a board member of MidValley Theatre Co. “We’re encouraging people of all ages and experience levels to participate, and there are a ton of possibilities for what you can choose to do — films, music, skits, jokes, photos, very short vignettes — we just really want people to enjoy themselves and share their creative visions and energies.”

The deadline for submissions is Dec. 28. Prizes will be awarded Dec. 30, with the hope that local merchants can contribute toward them, Hobbs said. An online gallery of entries will be made available to the public to help ring in the New Year. Thanks to an $1,800 grant from the Wallowa County Cultural Trust Coalition, entry is free.

MidValley was founded in 1995 and is based in Lostine, where its president lives. Although the group has no physical home, it has historically used the Lostine Grange, the Lostine Presbyterian Church and primarily — for many years — the old Lostine school gymnasium for performances. It also has used the OK Theatre in Enterprise, most recently for its original show “Common Threads” in November 2019, the Josephy Center for Art and Culture in Joseph and the Enterprise Odd Fellows Hall for shows.

The event is a new one for MidValley and a one-off because of the COVID pandemic.

Hobbs emphasized that it is not an attempt to replace the Ruby Peak Film Festival or even plan to make it a regular part of MidValley’s normal offerings.

“But since we can’t do normal, live theater this year, this seemed like the best way, under the circumstances, to offer a theatrical opportunity for both actors and audiences,” she said. “We look forward to returning to live theater as soon as we can do so safely, but in the meantime, this is the next best thing.”

For more information or to request an entry form, email jhobbs@eoni.com or call 541-398-1055.

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