Hormel Film Festival showcases people making a difference

The Hormel Film Festival features six films of people making the world a better place with one Jennie-O Turkey Store employee showing how a community welcomed him.

Hormel Film Festival.jpg
Hormel Film Festival

AUSTIN โ€” A new Hormel Foods virtual film festival will feature a movie, Cooperation Beyond Words, about a Jenni-O Turkey Store employee in Faribault that escaped the civil war in Somalia who found the chance to succeed in America, according to Hormel Foods news release about the festival.

The five-day Hormel Film Festival, running May 11-15, will show six short films that profile uncommon heroes ranging in age from 12 to 101.

"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," Wendy Watkins, vice president of corporate communications at Hormel Foods said in the release. "These films are portraits of people who have had remarkable life journeys and flourished despite ordinary expectations.โ€

The films will premiere live on Hormel Foods' YouTube channel ( ) at noon every day during the coming week, followed by a live discussion between the filmmakers and some of the films' subjects.

Cooperation Beyond Words focuses on the story of Abdullahi Moallin, who came to America after losing his hearing during the civil war in Somalia.


Moallin found opportunity and community at a Jennie-O Turkey Store, paving the way for others like him to follow.

The festival schedule is as follows:

  • Autism Friendly Austin and Jackson the Superhero, two stories about two individuals who have shown their communities that autism is not an obstacle. Noon Monday.
  • Cooperation Beyond Words, a story about Moallin's journey from Somalia to Faribault. Noon Tuesday.
  • There's Something About Grace, a story about Grace Umutesi, who escaped the racial genocide in her home country of Rwanda and hopes to make the world, and her home country, a better place. Noon Wednesday.
  • Chuck Baker's Table of Honor, a film about American veterans who gather every week at a small restaurant in California to share their experiences. Noon Thursday.
  • The 5th Grader who Fed Putnam County, West Virginia, a story about an 11-year-old who created a program to help hundreds of people facing poverty in her West Virginia community. Noon Friday.

The films premiering in the Hormel Film Festival were made by award-winning filmmakers and documentarians Scott Balcerek and David Munro, produced by EMMYยฎ 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.

Mark Wasson has been a public safety reporter with Post Bulletin since May 2022. Previously, he worked as a general assignment reporter in the southwest metro and as a public safety reporter in Willmar, Minn. Readers can reach Mark at
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