Believe It Tour was excited to attend the recent Bigfoot Film Festival in Millersburg, PA that was held from January 29 through the 31st at the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art. It was a film festival put on by the Ned Smith Center and a film group called Moviate with the purpose of raising some money for the nature center and exploring Bigfoot and the folklore surrounding the creature in film. Bigfoot has long been a popular icon in films and has been portrayed in ways ranging from terrifyingly ferocious to sweet and lovable. The three-day event was guided by Alexis Dow Campbell of the Ned Smith Center, who made sure things ran smoothly and that everyone had a great time.
The film festival was an interesting merging of a serious nature center with an indy film group and movie makers who saw Bigfoot as curious and artsy, the public who was interested in having fun and learning something new, and serious cryptozoologists who had insightful and educational information to share. The end result of this interesting conglomeration of people was the Bigfoot Film Festival.
We weren’t able to make it to the start of the festival on Friday, but when we got to the festival on Saturday we were regaled by stories about the movies and an interesting misadventure that resulted from an unscreened movie. There was a lecture by a film maker, Jim Hollenbach, on Bigfoot in films and the day featured four movies. The movies were “Bigfoot Comes to Lunch,” “Yolanda,” “The Hairy Horror,” and “The Creature from Black Lake.” Apparently, the screening of “Yolanda” was a memorable moment for the Friday festival attendees with some unexpectedly risque scenes that were not for the feint of heart.
Believe It Tour arrived Saturday and we were ready for a fun and exciting day. When we got to the film festival we were greeted with an art exhibit by Garrick Dorsett. The exhibit theme was, of course, Bigfoot shown in a variety of moods, but all with some great graffiti inspired design. There were two fantastic lectures from Eric Altman, the Director of the PA Bigfoot Society, and Loren Coleman, founder of the International Cryptozoology Museum and renowned cryptozoologist. After the lectures, we had the chance to see the fun and campy “The Curse of Bigfoot” and the famous “The Legend of Boggy Creek.” The day also featured the Discovery Channel documentary “Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science.” Throughout the day, we had opportunities to talk with the Bigfoot experts and a few festival attendees. As a result, we got to hear a few fascinating personal encounters and some interesting stories about recent Bigfoot sightings. The day ended with a great discussion over dinner with some cryptozoologists and people just attending the film festival where we all discussed what we believed in. The overwhelming consensus was that most of the people did believe in Bigfoot and that the others were at least willing to be open, even if they weren’t sure what they thought, to the existence of such a thing. However, everyone agreed they were enjoying the film festival.
Sunday brought a shorter, family inspired day to the film festival with a costume contest and a screening of “Harry and the Hendersons.” During the two days that we were there, everyone at the film festival seemed to be having a great time, enjoyed a few Bigfoot movies, and learned some new things about Bigfoot. Maybe there were even some new believers after hearing the lecturers tell some pretty amazing stories.
We loved that the film festival organizers decided on a Bigfoot inspired theme. We also enjoyed that they decided to bring such a great group of people, believers and non-believers, together to enjoy some interesting lectures and to see an eclectic collection of movies that showed Bigfoot in a variety of different ways. The festival seemed to really inspire discussions among everyone and encourage the sharing of what people believed in. That’s what Believe It Tour is all about, so we certainly appreciated this aspect of the event. We’re definitely looking forward to the next Bigfoot Film Festival and the exciting new stories we’ll hear and the next collection of movies that will be screened.