Hormel Foods Announces the First-Ever Hormel Film Festival

Jackson, a young man from Louisville, Kentucky, with a special superpower and a mom who is his biggest fan and advocate. ( Hormel Foods )

Hormel Foods launched a five-day virtual film festival this week, to present six powerful and hope-filled short films, starting Monday, May 11, and running through May 15. Each film profiles uncommon heroes ranging in age from 12 to 101 who show us that it is possible to thrive against incredible odds, a release from the company says.

“Given the current challenging times we’re facing, we want to share these inspiring stories of some really amazing people and their mission to make the world a better place,” said Wendy Watkins, vice president of corporate communications at Hormel Foods, in the release. “These films are portraits of people who have had remarkable life journeys and flourished despite ordinary expectations — those who give back to their communities, reach across borders and see beyond disabilities. From bringing a town together around autism awareness to the simple act of U.S. military veterans making life-long friendships over a meal, the first-ever Hormel Film Festival will premiere six films that will touch your heart at a time where we could all use some inspiration and hope.”

The films will be shown live on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/hormelfoodscorp) at 12 p.m. CT, every day during the week, followed by a live discussion between the filmmakers and some of the films’ subjects. The company collaborated with expert writers and filmmakers to capture the stories of inspired people who connect with the company, the release explains. The films premiering in the Hormel Film Festival were made by award-winning filmmakers and documentarians Scott Balcerek and David Munro, produced by EMMY® winner Garrett Law of Attention Span Media, and led by the corporate communications team and the award-winning film team at Hormel Foods including Michael Yaremchuk, Rene Lazaro and Gene Lifka.

The virtual festival will also spotlight nonprofit organizations, each with a unique connection to the stories and the subjects of the films. Supported causes will include advocacy for the deaf and hard of hearing community, support for those with autism, business development for women, military and veterans, and hunger-relief efforts. 

View the whole schedule and learn more at www.HormelFilmFestival.com.

Summary of the films:

Autism Friendly Austin, with bonus film Jackson the Superhero

Two stories about two inspiring individuals who have shown their communities that autism is not an obstacle. Samuel Ehert knows personally that even a small town can be difficult to navigate for someone with autism. As a tour guide at the SPAM® Museum, Samuel is part of a larger project to make Austin, Minnesota, an autism-friendly community. Plus, get to know Jackson, a young man from Louisville, Kentucky, with a special superpower and a mom who is his biggest fan and advocate.

Cooperation Beyond Words

Abdullahi Moallin came to America after losing his hearing during the civil war in Somalia. At Jennie-O Turkey Store in Faribault, Minnesota, he found opportunity and community — and he paved the way for others like him to follow. Discover an amazing team that is as unique as their ability to communicate and create a culture of togetherness.

 There’s Something About Grace

Working to make the world, and her home country, a better place. As a child, Grace Umutesi narrowly escaped the racial genocide that swept over her home country of Rwanda. This is a story of serendipity and hope — of a journey that brought Grace across the world to find a mentor in Justin Gold, the founder of Justin’s. Now at the end of her internship at Justin’s, Grace is determined to pursue her dream of bringing the entrepreneurial knowledge she acquired at Justin’s back to her home country.

Chuck Baker’s Table of Honor 

Skydiving at 100 years old? Flying dangerous missions during World War II? Meet a down-to-Earth group of American veterans who gather every week at a small restaurant in Northern California. Representing all five branches of the military, these veterans like to joke that the main thing they have in common is SPAM®, but their shared experience of personal sacrifice and sense of honor suggests a deeper bond.

The 5th Grader who Fed Putnam County, West Virginia

At only 11-years-old when the film was made, Elise Simokat decided she wasn’t going to be a passive witness to the poverty in her West Virginia community. She created the Box-to-Belly Challenge and, with support from donations from Kroger and Hormel Foods, helped hundreds of her classmates and beyond. “I’m just one person. I can’t change the world, says Elise. “But I’m not the only one doing this. Together, we can do anything. The sky’s the limit.”