The Best of Fest honor at the second annual Cornfed Film Fest in Macomb went to Class C – The Only Game in Town. The movie follows several girls’ basketball teams from tiny, rural communities in Montana as they compete for the state title. It includes insight from Hall of Fame basketball coach Phil Jackson, who grew up in Montana.
Documentaries were also honored in two other categories. Chasing Water, which follows the Colorado River to the point where it dries up in the southwestern desert, was chosen Best Short Film.
Joplin, Missouri was honored as the Best Feature Film. It is about the destructive tornado that tore through the center of Joplin in May, 2011.
Filmmaker Chip Gubera now lives in Columbia, MO, but he grew up in Joplin and much of his family still lives there (they all survived the tornado). Gubera said he rebelled against his hometown while growing up, but he learned something about hometown pride while he made the film.
“Neighbors helped neighbors. They’re not bad people. They turn out to be the best people on earth,” Gubera said.
“In the time of crisis, it doesn’t matter if you’re black, if you’re white, if you’re poor, if you’re rich. The community came together and they helped each other.”
He said they continue to help each to this day, which he called “a wonderful thing.”
Gubera originally went back to Joplin to help the town with the cleanup. Then one day his sister suggested he could help by using his camera to tell the story of what happened.
“The first time I went, right after the storm, I had my chainsaw. After talking to my sister, she’s like, ‘Everyone has stories, they want to talk. You can help the community this way.’”
Gubera said his father assisted him with the film, which some groups now use for training people in emergency management and disaster recovery.
Two other films were also honored during Cornfed. Austin Thompson of Plymouth, IL, received the Best Student Film award for Blue Dawn, and Adam Kozlowski, who is a Macomb native, received the Homegrown award for Wins A Lot.