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Hancock filmmaker's documentary at festival

It's as if she's been making the documentary her entire life.

Megan Fitzgerald grew up on a family farm in rural Hancock. She grew up watching her father Mark and brother work in the fields, feed the cattle and other farm tasks during all four seasons of the year. Eventually, she also did that farm work. The farm life Fitzgerald is so familiar with is the subject of a documentary that will be presented during the Sept. 7-15 Prairie Light Film Festival at the Morris Theatre.

"It's strange. I call this documentary a lifetime in the making," Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald graduated from high school in 2008. She graduated from the University of Minnesota Morris in 2014. She's working on her master's thesis in film production at Ohio University. She recently returned home to the family farm to continue her film thesis project and to the roots that helped shape her as a filmmaker.

"Filmmaking and farming aren't all that different," Fitzgerald said. Farming requires a strong work ethic and the ability to work as much as needed in sometimes difficult conditions such as bitterly cold weather.

As an artist, she now applies that farming work ethic to her film making. It's advantage she has over others who want to make great movies and documentaries, Fitzgerald said.

The work ethic of the farm is documented in her film. Originally, Fitzgerald intended to document farm life during all four seasons of the year. She's recorded and edited fall and winter week into the documentary for the film festival.

"I videotape what I see," Fitzgerald said. She has filmed her family members feeding cattle, walking the prairie fields and doing other farm work.

Documentaries "Show the truth," Fitzgerald said. Her documentary shows the work of her family on the farm.

"I really appreciate my folks letting me videotape," Fitzgerald said. "And the way they raised me with a work ethic."

It was important to record the daily work on the farm but also the atmosphere, the art within the work.

There is something poetic about farming, Fitzgerald said. "The beauty of the land and and the people who live on the land." That is why she chose orchestra music to accompany her documentary because it suited the art of the farm.

She's excited to have the documentary be included in the film festival. Local films are scheduled to be show at 9 p.m. tonight (Sept. 11) in the small theater.

For more on the film festival, see the Morris Theatre website and Facebook page.

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