WILL Pressroom

Two independent films presented by Illinois Public Media featured in 2020 PBS Short Film Festival


Illinois Public Media is proud to partner with PBS for the 9th Annual PBS Short Film Festival, coming to PBS and WILL digital platforms July 13-24, 2020. This year, the festival features 25 short-form independent films presented in five categories: culture, environment, family, humanity, and race. 

Illinois Public Media is proud to present two films featured in the culture category, Small Forces’ Paddle Together and 1UP Film’s You Know the Drill. Paddle Together is the third film from filmmaker Katie Prentiss Onsager to be featured in the festival. You Know the Drill is the first film from filmmaker McKinleigh Lair to be featured in the festival. More about the films are as follows:

Paddle Together: Survivorship meets sportsmanship. This is what propels the Paradise City Dragon Boat team of breast cancer survivors and supporters to paddle a 20-person boat down the Connecticut River. Brought together by their experiences of fighting breast cancer, the dragon boat racing team offers year-round support and camaraderie, while also providing necessary muscle-building fitness in an exciting and rewarding sport.

You Know the Drill: A normal school day in rural Wyoming becomes combative as students flip tables, dog-pile on trainers armed with plastic guns, and ponder whether they could fight back during an actual school shooting. Over 1,000 miles away on a southern California beach, a child psychologist watches her own children play in the waves after counseling a middle schooler with active shooter drill anxiety. She warns that if we don’t start researching now, it could take 17 years before society knows the consequences of conducting aggressive drills in schools.

“Short films are rarely given the attention they deserve, even though they can tackle important topics, convey a mood, and introduce us to amazing characters,” said Moss Bresnahan, CEO and president of Illinois Public Media. “Illinois Public Media takes great pride in presenting these two important short films to PBS audiences in Illinois and beyond.”

The PBS Short Film Festival is part of a multiplatform initiative to increase the reach and visibility of independent filmmakers and to provide a showcase for diverse storytelling that both inspires and engages.

“At PBS, we have been committed to bringing a diversity of voices into American homes,” said Ira Rubenstein, PBS chief digital and marketing officer. “As we celebrate independent filmmakers once again this year, we’re especially proud to showcase a variety of features and perspectives across multiple platforms and help to elevate important stories.”  

The festival will run from July 13-24, 2020 and will be available via PBS and Illinois Public Media digital platforms, including PBS.org, YouTube, and Facebook. Starting at midnight on July 13, audiences can watch, share, and vote for their favorite film to win the “Most Popular” award. For more information on official voting rules, click here. In addition, a panel of seven jury members will select their favorite film of the festival for the Juried Prize.

For updates on the festival, visit www.pbs.org/filmfestival. To engage in online conversation, tag @PBS and use #PBSFilmFest on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram