Second season of ‘Rural By Choice’ is in the works

Since the series' release in September, the seven episodes have been viewed over 200,000 times on Facebook, YouTube and at the Twin Cities Film Festival.

Rural by Choice Team Twin Cities Film Fest.jpg
Erik Osberg, left, Cory Hepola, Micah Kvidt and Jenna Kvidt at the Twin Cities Film Festival in October 2021 for the series showcase of "Rural by Choice." (Contributed / Otter Tail Lakes Country / Perham Focus)

The "Rural By Choice" docuseries created by the Otter Tail Lakes Country Association, Kvidt Creative and Perham graduate Cory Hepola has drawn local and national attention, with some viewers tuning in from as far away as New York City.

Since the series' release in September, the seven episodes have been viewed over 200,000 times on Facebook, YouTube and at the Twin Cities Film Festival.

The seven-part docuseries tells the story of why people choose to live in rural places, through the eyes of Hepola, who is now a WCCO radio host in Minneapolis. The series also promotes Otter Tail County and explores perceptions of rural life.

Positive response to the series has led to discussions about a second season. Filming would begin this winter, and the makers say they hope to highlight more areas of Otter Tail County and dive deeper into subjects like career choices and raising a family in a rural place, according to a news release from the Lakes Country Association.

The topics of the docuseries include outdoor recreation, farming and local foods, but weave in conversations about diversity, the rural vs. urban divide, and why people choose to live in rural areas.


“I think 'Rural By Choice' tells unique stories that people all over Otter Tail County, the state, and the country can relate to," Hepola said in the release. "The episodes give people a lot to think about and shine a light on the idea that living in different places doesn’t divide us; instead, it gives us an opportunity to find mutual respect.”

The Lakes Country Association has been promoting "Rural By Choice" through several channels to encourage both Otter Tail County residents and people from outside the area to watch the series, whether they’re united by rural living or call a metro area home. A national media campaign also featured the series on a billboard in Times Square, New York City and 1,595 radio show airings across the country from Seattle to Pittsburg. The campaign has the potential to reach 33 million people.


Erik Osberg, Otter Tail County’s Rural Rebound Initiative coordinator, explains how the series and the larger campaign will benefit Otter Tail County.
“My job is to share with people what makes our county a great place to visit, live, and work. Our ultimate goal is to do that so well that people move here, work here and love it here," Osberg said in the release. "Getting new residents helps solve the workforce shortages that we’ve been experiencing for several years. 'Rural By Choice' shares many positive stories that people can relate to and gives them a glimpse into what life in Otter Tail County is like.”

"Rural By Choice" episodes can be watched at .

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