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Hormel Foods Announces the First-Ever Hormel Film Festival: One Uncommon Company. Six Uncommon Films Showcasing Heroes Making a Difference


Austin, Minn.

Company to premier films meant to inspire and comfort during this unprecedented time

Hormel Foods, a global branded food company (NYSE: HRL), announced it will present six powerful and hope-filled short films during a five-day virtual film festival, starting Monday, May 11, and running through May 15. Each film profiles uncommon heroes ranging in age from 12 to 101 who show us that it is possible to thrive against incredible odds.

“Given the current challenging times we’re facing, we want to share these inspiring stories of some really amazing people and their mission to make the world a better place,” said Wendy Watkins, vice president of corporate communications at Hormel Foods. “These films are portraits of people who have had remarkable life journeys and flourished despite ordinary expectations — those who give back to their communities, reach across borders and see beyond disabilities. From bringing a town together around autism awareness to the simple act of U.S. military veterans making life-long friendships over a meal, the first-ever Hormel Film Festival will premiere six films that will touch your heart at a time where we could all use some inspiration and hope.”

The films will premiere live on YouTube ( at 12 p.m. CT, every day during the week, followed by a live discussion between the filmmakers and some of the films’ subjects. Hormel Foods collaborates with expert writers and filmmakers to capture the stories of inspired people who connect with the company. The films premiering in the Hormel Film Festival were made by award-winning filmmakers and documentarians Scott Balcerek and David Munro, produced by EMMY® winner Garrett Law of Attention Span Media, and led by the corporate communications team and the award-winning film team at Hormel Foods including Michael Yaremchuk, Rene Lazaro and Gene Lifka.

The event will also spotlight nonprofit organizations, each with a unique connection to the stories and the subjects of the films. Supported causes will include advocacy for the deaf and hard of hearing community, support for those with autism, business development for women, military and veterans, and hunger-relief efforts.

View the whole schedule and learn more about these amazing stories at

Summary of the films:

Autism Friendly Austin, with bonus film Jackson the Superhero
Two stories about two inspiring individuals who have shown their communities that autism is not an obstacle. Samuel Ehert knows personally that even a small town can be difficult to navigate for someone with autism. As a tour guide at the SPAM® Museum, Samuel is part of a larger project to make Austin, Minnesota, an autism-friendly community. Plus, get to know Jackson, a young man from Louisville, Kentucky, with a special superpower and a mom who is his biggest fan and advocate.

Cooperation Beyond Words
Abdullahi Moallin came to America after losing his hearing during the civil war in Somalia. At Jennie-O Turkey Store in Faribault, Minnesota, he found opportunity and community — and he paved the way for others like him to follow. Discover an amazing team that is as unique as their ability to communicate and create a culture of togetherness.

There’s Something About Grace
Working to make the world, and her home country, a better place. As a child, Grace Umutesi narrowly escaped the racial genocide that swept over her home country of Rwanda. This is a story of serendipity and hope — of a journey that brought Grace across the world to find a mentor in Justin Gold, the founder of Justin’s. Now at the end of her internship at Justin’s, Grace is determined to pursue her dream of bringing the entrepreneurial knowledge she acquired at Justin’s back to her home country.

Chuck Baker’s Table of Honor
Skydiving at 100 years old? Flying dangerous missions during World War II? Meet a down-to-Earth group of American veterans who gather every week at a small restaurant in Northern California. Representing all five branches of the military, these veterans like to joke that the main thing they have in common is SPAM®, but their shared experience of personal sacrifice and sense of honor suggests a deeper bond.

The 5th Grader who Fed Putnam County, West Virginia
At only 11-years-old when the film was made, Elise Simokat decided she wasn’t going to be a passive witness to the poverty in her West Virginia community. She created the Box-to-Belly Challenge and, with support from donations from Kroger and Hormel Foods, helped hundreds of her classmates and beyond. “I’m just one person. I can’t change the world, says Elise. “But I’m not the only one doing this. Together, we can do anything. The sky’s the limit.”

Hormel Foods will cap the week with a special Friday evening viewing of its collection of films for its 20,000 team members and their families and friends. The collection will include a new series featuring special and inspiring stories of its team members from Hormel Foods called Everyone Has a Story.

About Hormel Foods – Inspired People. Inspired Food.

Hormel Foods Corporation, based in Austin, Minn., is a global branded food company with over $9 billion in annual revenues across 75 countries worldwide. Its brands include SKIPPY®, SPAM®, Hormel® Natural Choice®, Applegate®, Justin’s®, Columbus®, Wholly® guacamole, Hormel® Black Label® and more than 30 other beloved brands. The company is a member of the S&P 500 Index and the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats, was named one of “The 100 Best Corporate Citizens” by Corporate Responsibility Magazine for the 11th year in a row, and has received numerous other awards and accolades for its corporate responsibility and community service efforts. In 2016, the company celebrated its 125th anniversary and announced its new vision for the future – Inspired People. Inspired Food.™ – focusing on its legacy of innovation. For more information, visit and

About the Filmmakers

V. Scott Balcerek is a filmmaker with Attention Span who produced and edited More Than A Game, a feature documentary about LeBron James, which was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. He also directed RePlay, a Gatorade branded doc series featuring Eli and Peyton Manning, that received eight Gold Lions at Cannes. Prior, Balcerek was the senior visual effects editor for George Lucas’ Star Wars films Episodes I and II, as well as Ang Lee’s The Hulk and Wolfgang Petersen’s The Perfect Storm. He spent more than 20 years shooting his most recent film and directorial debut, Satan & Adam (Mountainfilm 2018).

David Munro is a writer and filmmaker with Attention Span, based in the Bay Area. His feature films include Stand Up Planet, a Gates Foundation documentary hosted by Hasan Minhaj (The Daily Show) and Full Grown Men, an independent comedy that won the Sundance Channel Audience Award. David’s short films have screened worldwide from Sundance to Berlin leading Filmmaker Magazine to name him one of “25 New Indie Faces.”