7:30 p.m. Saturday at CITY PARK

Film festival encourages canned food donations at free movie

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“Wonder Woman” is headed to town Saturday night, and filmmaker Chip Hale hopes locals will welcome her with open arms – and a massive cache of canned goods.

The Reel East Texas Film Festival’s kick-off event brings the 2017 summer blockbuster to the Kilgore City Park amphitheater for an open-to-the-publicm after-dark screening courtesy of Longview-Kilgore Cable TV.

“Admission to the event is free,” Hale emphasized, but it’s also an opportunity to contribute to a local charity: “It’s a fundraiser for Kilgore Helping Hands. We’re asking that for entry into the park you at least bring a canned food donation,” and the nonprofit’s volunteers will be on hand to collect contributions.

If a visitor forgets their food item, that’s OK, Hale said: Helping Hands will be grateful for monetary donations, cash or coins – anything helps.

A regular volunteer at the food pantry, the film festival founder’s eager to put the South Martin Street nonprofit in the spotlight and help keep the shelves full as it reaches out to people in need.

“It’s something that means a lot to me,” Hale said. “Whenever the festival committee and I were talking about having a benefit from anything we do around the community, moving forward with the festival, that it would be Helping Hands.

“I don’t think people realize how large of an area our food bank serves.”

The free Movie in the Park will begin at approximately 7:30 p.m. Saturday night (after sunset at 7:05 p.m.), and a local ‘Wonder Woman’ will be on-site in costume for photos with attendees.

Prior to the event, Hale will award two all-access passes for the upcoming Reel East Texas Film Festival, set Nov. 16-18 in the Texan Theater. Social media users have until Saturday to enter the random drawing for the passes by sharing RETFF’s first promotional video on Facebook. (Log on to Facebook.com/ReelEastTexas for details.)

The festival will be filming another promo soon, Hale noted, and is on the lookout for extras from the community – everyone is invited to participate.

“We’ll need any citizen of Kilgore to come out and be a part of it whenever we decide the shooting date,” Hale said.

Follow “Reel East Texas Film Festival” on Facebook for updates about the upcoming shoot and other events.

Powered by Citizens National Bank, Kilgore News Herald, SWEPCO and other local sponsors, the three-day film festival in November will feature 55 screenings, ranging from short films and documentaries to feature-length movies submitted from around the world – included projects by Kilgore and East Texas filmmakers. Log on to ReelEastTexas.com to learn more.

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