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Courtesy of Chêne Gear

An inspiring film about Jake Bainter was voted the winner of the 2023 Chêne Film Festival.

At last year’s inaugural Chêne Film Festival in Memphis, Tennessee, one special story stood above the rest. God Wink, the moving story of Jake Bainter, won first place among the six films in contention. Jake lost a leg due to a tragic accident when he was a young child, but he refused to let that stand in the way of living his life to the fullest in the outdoors. The son of longtime Florida DU Regional Director Brett Bainter, Jake donated most of his share of the prize money to Ducks Unlimited.

“Conservation is my passion. I love all wildlife, but I see what Ducks Unlimited does to give back to the ducks, and they are my favorite of all wild animals,” Jake said. “I am just doing my part by giving back to an organization that continues to do the same.”

The Chêne Film Festival offers a variety of fun activities and attractions for attendees, including live music, college football broadcasts, local food trucks, a beer garden, and a premium auction and raffle. Vendors from many industry-leading outdoor brands also showcase their latest and greatest products for waterfowl hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts.

For the main event, films are shown on a 40-foot screen with state-of-the-art sound, and the audience votes for the winners. “The festival is a way to create a unique customer experience. That’s what we try to do with everything, from product to events. We invested a lot of time in the films, and we were looking for an awesome way to showcase them. It just all grew from there,” said Dylan Farrell, Chêne director of media and marketing.

Chêne has even bigger plans for the 2024 festival, scheduled for October 26. “We had about 1,200 people last year, and this year we hope to see 4,000 to 5,000 people with more great films, vendors, and bigger music acts the people will love,” Farrell said.

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