Los Angeles and Fresno couldn’t be more different, minus the fact that they’re located in the same state. One is known for its farmland. The other is often referred to as “La La Land.” But great films can come from Fresno just as sure as they can from Hollywood…so long as creative locals pick up their cameras and start creating.
That’s where the Germ comes in. If you’re a filmmaker in Fresno, you’ve probably already heard of the project, likely having contributed a film to one of the previous cycles. For those who are unfamiliar, the Germ is a 3-year-old film festival designed to motive and inspire people to create by giving them the germ of an idea (hence the name, so you can stop thinking it’s something that’ll make you sick), a few limiters and a deadline.
The idea for the Germ came from a conversation between friends Byron Watkins and Anthony Taylor in 2011. The two were busy with their work at Windsong Productions and, with no deadline holding them accountable, passion projects were falling by the wayside. As they do for most of us. Six months later, the first Germ was born and there have been 11 more since.
(As an FYI, the deadline for submissions for the latest installment of the project is Monday. You can check out the festival’s website for details on the apocalypse theme, how to submit and when the films will be screened.)
Here, Byron talks about the fateful conversation that started it all, why the Germ does more than just encourage creative film making and his decision to keep his production company local.