Friday, December 17, 2010

Creative Maxims (Mary & Charlie Cunliffe) has teamed up with Joe Scherrman of DreamCatcher Productions to work on a documentary about Lake Delhi Flood

Charles & Mary Cunliffe of Creative Maxims, LLC and Joe Scherrman of DreamCatcher Productions, LLC have joined in an effort to tell the story of the Lake Delhi 2010 flood and dam breach, the impact it has had on the lives of the residents and the surrounding communities and the desire on the part of the residents to rebuild, not only a dam or a lake, but a way of life shared for generations, now threatened.

The three are working together collecting video, photographs and stories, through interviews of long time residents who are willing to share their memories to help tell this story about a way of life and about the determination to overcome the obstacles to rebuild it for future generations to enjoy. They are in production now and are very interested in hearing from as many families as possible about life on the lake. Those having in interest in sharing experiences about living on the lake or in the surrounding area are encouraged to contact Mary Cunliffe via email at

Joe Scherrman is the accomplished Director/Producer of the documentary "Ghost Player-Relive The Magic". A wonderful story that chronicles the experiences of a middle aged team of Iowa baseball players, who regularly graced the Field of Dreams and traveled to military basis around the world to bring the great American pastime, joy and goodwill to our troops and their families.
You can visit his website at

Charlie & Mary Cunliffe are film making hobbyists. They have produced, directed or been directly involved in the production of seven short films in the past two years. The two are script writers and producers who have several film projects at various stages of development. You can visit their web site at

You're Invited to "The Affair"

1st Fridays Artwalk February Film Expo Seeks Iowa Short Scripts and Films

1st Friday’s Art Walk announces its second annual short script contest. This year’s theme is “2012 Approaching.” The theme should serve as inspiration but the words themselves need not to be included in the script.

Two winning scripts will be produced during the Festival’s Film Production Workshop by experienced directors on February 6 with volunteer actors, crews and an audience at Hawthorne Direct’s studios. Winners will also receive a free DVD of the finished films.  Submission deadline is January 7th, 2011. No entry fee. For more information and submission guidelines go to
The Short Script Contest is sponsored by 1st Fridays Artwalk and Hawthorne Direct.

The Film Festival is also looking for short film submissions of up to 12 minutes in any genres. Selected films will be shown during the Film Festival. Films must be made by Iowa artists. Send DVDs to Fairfield Film Expo, PO Box 441, Fairfield, IA, 52556.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Des Moines Filmmaker Set to Debut Film at Sundance Film Festival

Bryant Mock, a Des Moines independent filmmaker and IMPA member, has just learned that his feature film, Prairie Love, has been accepted into the legendary Sundance Film Festival.  Prairie Love was written and directed by Dusty Bias and produced by Mock, Douglas Mueller, Holly Lynn Ellis, and Ashley Bias.  It stars holly Lynn Ellis, Garth Bloomberg,  and Chicago-based actor Jeremy Clark.

Prairie Love was selected by the Sundance Film Festival from a record number of over 10,000 submissions from around the world.  It will be featured with 7 other films in the NEXT Category, showcasing films that exemplify the spirit of independent film.  As Sundance says, “stretching a low budget to create big art.”

Prairie Love is a dark comedy about the search for companionship in a desolate landscape. The plot involves a mysterious Vagrant who patrols the deserted winter plains, living out of his car and off of the land. When he discovers a nearly-frozen local with a pen-pal girlfriend, he seizes the opportunity to change his lonely existence.

The film was shot entirely in North Dakota, with locations in Minot, Burlington, Lignite, Mohall and Glenburn, over one month in January 2009.  Though the hours were long and the weather brutal, the filmmakers credit the generosity of North Dakotans for making the production possible.  “They just went way beyond what you could hope for and saved us time and time again,” Mueller said. Ellis agreed, “We literally could not have survived without all these people checking in on us.”

For independent filmmakers, “getting into Sundance is the Holy Grail,” says Bias. “We're overwhelmed with joy.  We’ve been preparing for this our whole lives and are determined to make the most of this opportunity.”

The Sundance Film Festival will be held in Park City, UT, January 20-30, 2011.  50,000 attendees are expected.

To learn more and view a trailer for the film, visit

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

ISA Stagecraft Workshop - Saturday, Nov. 13

Imagine you've written a script for the stage. The good news, your play was selected for a workshop performance. The bad news, your play was selected for a workshop performance.

What do directors and actors look for in a new play? How does the process work from script to stage? What do you need to make a play script a success?

You need to attend the Iowa Scriptwriters Alliance Workshop Performance of Kay Rhoads's play, “Golden Rings” to find out on Saturday November 13th in the Walsh Room of the Des Moines Botanical Center from 9AM-4PM.

It's like Shooting Scripts for the stage.

Watch and learn as two directors and two sets of actors take a single short script through the workshop process. The writer will make script adjustments based on feedback from the two director/actor teams (and possibly from the audience). We break for a one hour lunch on your own. Then the actors rehearse, and the two versions of the script will be performed.

ISA members admitted free
IMPA members $15
General public $25 (which includes an ISA membership)

Questions or to reserve a spot in the workshop, contact ISA Secretary Deb O' Bryan at:

Thursday, October 7, 2010


AriesWorks Entertainment is excited to announce the innovative extension of the 8th annual international Wild Rose Independent Film Festival (WRIFF), to be held November 4-11 at the popular Fleur Cinema and Café. This year’s Wild Rose will not only screen films from around the globe competing for top awards, it will extend the WRIFF from the usual 4 days to 8 days to include a unique non-competitive screening series Showcase of well-known films shot in Iowa.

The Iowa Showcase films lineup will include the first Des Moines movie theatre screenings of the popular paranormal thriller, "Haunting Villisca," based on the true story of the Villisca Axe Murders of 1912 and the actual haunting of the house where the crime took place. On Sunday Nov. 7 following the first screening, Darwin and Martha Linn (the Villisca Axe Murder House owners who appear in the film) will attend a Q & A about the infamous haunting.  The zany comedy feature "Splatter: Love, Honor and Paintball," about a likeable loser who seeks validation playing paintball, will screen at the Wild Rose, as will the intense psychological crime drama, "Ash,' about an abducted child and the effect the crime has on the former police officer who finds him, and an exclusive Des Moines screening of the exciting and touching "RAGBRAI documentary, A Million Spokes," will also be featured.

As a Wild Rose Workshop Presenter, the 2010 WRIFF welcomes from New York well-known daytime drama star, Ellen Dolan, who played “Margo” for 21 years on As the World Turns and who recently shot the quirky indie SAG feature, "Molly’s Girl"  (produced by My Town Pictures and AriesWorks Entertainment) here in Iowa.

The WRIFF, features top quality independent features, shorts, documentaries and animated films from around the world and hosts informative filmmaking workshops with industry professionals. These films compete for awards in over 20 categories including: acting, directing, editing, cinematography, original music and others.

For more information please contact WRIFF Director, Kimberly Busbee

Friday, September 17, 2010

NOW CASTING: "The Marriage Ref" is back and we're looking for you!

"The Marriage Ref" is a comedy panel show where celebrities help squabbling couples make peace. Created by Jerry Seinfeld himself, this is relationship advice... with a comic twist. 

"The Marriage Ref" casting team is searching the country for outgoing and opinionated married couples that have a long-standing argument or issue that must be resolved. No problem is too small or too strange!

Whether you argue about stuffing your family pet or installing stripper poles in the bedroom, we want to hear from you. Tell us why you absolutely NEED a MARRIAGE REF to weigh in and proclaim, for once and for all, who is RIGHT and who is WRONG.

Couples across America … we want to hear what absolutely makes you nuts when it comes to your partner!  Tell us your beef and you might just get the chance to state your case on TV in front of your favorite celebrities!

For more information:
If this sounds like you or someone you know, please contact the Casting Team IMMEDIATELY at:  Casting@TheMarriageRef.TV .  Please write "attention to Joe Pinzone" when emailing the casting department

Please ONLY send us your email address so we can give you instructions on how to apply.  Nothing else will be accepted or reviewed so make sure you only send us your email address.

Click on the link below to watch hilarious episodes of the "The Marriage Ref":

“30 Rock” Presentation Highlights Donna Reed Foundation “Weekend Workshop”

Continuing their mission of education in the performing arts, the Donna Reed Foundation is planning a series of “Weekend Workshops” to be held throughout the year. The first such workshop will feature a former Denison native and is planned for September 24th and 25th.

The two-part workshop will feature a pair of workshop sessions on Saturday morning focused on TV show production. “Script to Screen" and “Breaking Into The Biz,” will be conducted by Bellamy Forrest, assistant director of over 20 episodes of the popular TV series “30 Rock.” She will cover in detail the process of creating an episode of “30 Rock” starting from the script all the way through to the finished show. The workshop begins at 9 a.m.

Saturday afternoon will feature two sessions on Cinematography "Creating the Image" and “Lighting The Interview” conducted by Nathan Stoll, a Denison native (DHS Class of 1996) and eight-year veteran camera operator and producer in New York. This session begins at 1:30 p.m.

Both presenters will also share their insights about starting in and working in the entertainment business.

On Friday night, the instructors will conduct a “free and open to the public” session on how an episode of “30 Rock" is shot, which will offer attendees a behind the scenes look at all of the details that need to come together to produce a finished show. That session begins at 7 p.m.

“This will give people a fascinating look at how TV shows are made, whether you’re interested in a production career, or whether you have always wondered what goes on behind the scenes,” said Pat Fleshner, Foundation Board member.

The fee for one workshop session, either morning or afternoon, is $50, but participants can participate in both for $90. The Friday night session is free.

People wishing to register for one or both of the workshop sessions can do so by contacting the Donna Reed Foundation at or by going to the foundation’s website:, and downloading the workshop brochure.

For more information, contact:
Pat Fleshner 712-269-5481 or Tim Tracy 712-263-3334

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Freeky Creek Short Film Festival: Final Call for Submission

Freaky: \ˈfrē-kē\ (adj.); weird, somewhat frightening, strange or unusual; bizarre; conspicuously or grossly unconventional.

If you’re an amateur filmmaker with a “freeky” film, we want to see it!  Sleepy Creek Vineyards is holding its first annual Freeky Creek Film Festival on Halloween weekend (Oct. 29 through Oct. 31) of 2010.

We are seeking short films with running times no more than 20 min. (10 min. or less would be ideal) with freaky, frightening, and funny content in the spirit of the Halloween season.  Halloween is about scaring and being scared, but it’s also a time to mock the things that frighten us, so comedy is appreciated (but not required)!

The event will be held at our winery, just south of Oakwood, IL (directions found at

Important Dates
Submission Deadline:  Monday, Sept. 20
Final Films Selected:  by Monday, Oct. 4
Screening of Films: 
- Friday, Oct. 29 @ 8 p.m. – voting
- Saturday, Oct. 30 @ 8 p.m. – voting & Awards Night
- Sunday, Oct. 31 @ 6 p.m. – encore screening

Submission Details
All submitted films must be original material (including soundtrack).  The act of submitting your film will serve as your verification that the work is original.  If a submission is deemed to include the copyrighted work of others, the submission will be rejected, and the submission fee will not be refunded.

All submitted materials MUST be mailed/shipped.  We will NOT accept ANY files sent via email.  Currently, we do not accept submissions through Withoutabox.

We are committed to completely screening every film submitted before the deadline.

Submission Fee: $5, non-refundable.  Make checks payable to Sleepy Creek Vineyards
Materials REQUIRED for Submission (DO NOT send via email):

- DVD or QuickTime file
- Synopsis of film
- $5 non-refundable submission fee
- Contact information:
Contact name
- OPTIONAL:  JPEG (to represent film in printed material)
- OPTIONAL:  Trailer

Mail to:
Sleepy Creek Vineyards
8254 E. 1425 North Rd.
Fairmount, IL 61841

Awards & Prize Money
Awards will include the following categories:
    Best Film
    Special Jury Prize
    Best Actor
    Best Animated Short
    Best F/X
Audience and Jury voting will determine winners.
Cash prizes will be awarded for some categories, including Best Film.

The Venue and Organizers
Sleepy Creek Vineyards (see is an avid supporter of the arts, and prides itself on offering unique art exhibits, music, and film experiences.  The tasting room at Sleepy Creek will be set up to accommodate approx. 70 people per screening.  All films will be screened in high definition on a 12 ft. screen.  Most of the money from entry fees and ticket sales will go to the winning filmmakers.

Vineyard owner, Joe Taylor, and Festival Coordinator, Bill Kephart, began collaborating on film projects after meeting at a local film club, Champaign Movie Makers.  Inspired by the work of fellow group members and knowing there were other amateur filmmakers seeking a venue for their unusual short films, they established this festival

Miscellaneous Details
This is Sleepy Creek’s first film festival, so we’re still ironing out the details.   While we anticipate a 3 to 4 hr. program, 3 screening nights, and 2 nights of voting, these details are subject to change depending on the number of submissions and audience response.
Notifications of acceptance and details of the event will be communicated via email.

Questions may be submitted to:  Bill Kephart at

Member Spotlight: Creative Maxims

Creative Maxims, owned by Charlie & Mary Cunliffe in Dubuque, have had a very busy year. In March 2009, the two decided to learn how things work behind the scenes.  First, the Cunliffes enrolled in IMPA’s Grip 101 workshop. After their training, the duo received a call to work on “Megafault.”  This opportunity allowed the Cunliffes to see, first hand, how things were done on set.
Charlie and Mary then applied the multiple lessons learned through their training and real-life set experience while shooting their first short film, “Doo Doo Unto Others.” In this humorous story written by Mary,  a man gets fed up with a neighbor that will not keep his dog leashed and returns the gifts the dog leaves behind. Shortly after “Doo Doo” was shot Charles directed a 48 Hour Film Project for the Great River Film Initiative team.  The GRIFFIN entry, "Striking Out" won the award for best acting in the Madison, WI competition.

Following this success, Mary answered the call from the Great River Film Initiative for short scripts and wrote a horror spoof called “The Arbor Ate Em.”  The group selected the script, which focuses on a group of pine trees that are eating pesky kids at a botanical garden. Charles was also selected as the director of this project.

While working on editing “Arbor,” Charles wrote and filmed a politically charged short about health care reform from the perspective of a terminally ill father and his daughter. The film, “Hope & Change” is one of eight projects the couple has worked on in the last 12 months.

This spring, Charles won the an Iowa Motion Picture Award of Excellence for his script "Rolling Back the Clouds" in the Screenplay-Unproduced category.  Then last month, the Creative Maxim team won a "Best Use of Genre" award  at 48 Hour Film Project in Madison, WI for their film "Special Delivery."

Charlie and Mary are thoroughly enjoying their new hobby of writing scripts and making films. Creative Maxims continues to build toward their goal of shooting a feature length film. Visit Creative Maxims web site at to follow what they are doing and to view trailers of their work.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Happy Cow Music Video Contest

Friends of Francis Thicke are pleased to announce the HAPPY COW MUSIC VIDEO CONTEST.  Individuals aged 18 and over are invited to submit a music video for the song, “Happy Cow,” written and performed by musician Arthur Lee Land for a chance to win cash prizes and have their work viewed by a celebrity judge panel.

Arthur Lee Land was inspired to write the song after meeting Francis Thicke and visiting his dairy farm, Radiance Dairy.  Thicke, (pronounced “ticky”) a sustainable dairy farmer with a Ph.D and former USDA Soil Science Program Leader, is campaigning against a candidate backed by corporate agribusiness for the position as Iowa's next Secretary of Agriculture.

The Happy Cow Music Video Contest encourages participants from across the country to get creative and spread the word that what happens in Iowa will impact the nation, by producing a music video in support of Thicke’s campaign promoting clean and healthy food systems, sustainable energy and more profits for family farmers.

A celebrity judge panel, including filmmaker David Lynch, bestselling author Michael Pollan, actor Stephen Collins, and King Corn filmmaker Aaron Woolf, will select a best overall winner and a second place winner. The overall winner will receive $1500, second place will win $700, and the People’s Choice award will win $300. Entries will be judged on creativity, imagination and inspiration, effectiveness of communication in telling story, and visual and graphic innovation.

 “I feel like the issue of clean food and sustainable agriculture is reaching critical mass. From my perspective, this IS a national election. When I heard that the people who typically vote for this office are over 55 I knew we needed to find ways to reach younger people in Iowa who care about their food and systems that produce it.”

“The song pretty much wrote itself after I started to think about what the cows would be asking humans: What's it gonna take...? Our intention is for this video contest to be a fun, creative way to bring attention to Francis and the issues at hand. We are fortunate to have Tim Hawthorne, Founder and CEO of Hawthorne Direct sponsor the $2500 prize money as well as our celebrity judges who have volunteered their support.”

Entries are due by September 22, 2010, midnight CST. To listen and download the “Happy Cow” Song, watch contest videos and view full contest guidelines visit:

Iowa Screen Scene

Iowa Screen Scene is dedicated to talking to film professionals in the state. Jolene Pfaff, Local Producer and IMPA Board Member, and her crew are new so they are still working out bugs in the system whether through Des Moines Amplified or their own learning curve. What is not in question is the interesting and informative people they are talking to.

The show airs weekly on Tuesdays from 12 to 1pm, but all episodes are archived on DM Amplified, so you can watch them whenever you would like. All past shows are available as video cast and some are available as podcast. All new shows will be available as both video cast and podcast.

Please contact Jolene Pfaff with any ideas or if you would like to be interviewed

Click here to watch Iowa Screen Scene

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"16 to Life" in Select Theaters starting September 3

When Los Angeles based writer-director Becky Smith chose to return to her home state of Iowa to shoot her first feature film, "16 to Life", she had no idea the film would receive international acclaim. To date, the romantic comedy has earned six “Best Feature” awards, including honors from Landlocked Film Fest and the Iowa Motion Picture Association. 

This September, Iowa residents will have the opportunity to view this award-winning film during limited engagements in six Iowa theaters. Waterdog Films has announced that several theaters will showcase "16 to Life" with special appearances by the film’s cast and writer-director.  Visit the "16 to Life" blog for a full schedule.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Iowa Film On Immigration To Premiere On Documentary Channel

While immigration is a hot topic in Arizona and other states, a film by an Iowa producer/director and Drake University professor premiering this month on the Documentary Channel focuses on the impact of immigration in one Iowa community.

'"A Little Salsa on the Prairie: The Changing Character of Perry, Iowa,' looks at immigration-related issues that have gained much attention in the national media," said Drake English professor Jody Swilky, who wrote and co-produced the documentary.

"Our documentary examines immigration and culture change over time in a rural Midwestern community, including a bilingual community dialog process on immigration and the future of the community” added producer/director Kent Newman, head of Full Spectrum Productions who also serves as President of the Iowa Motion Picture Association.

The film has had more than 30 screenings in Iowa, California and New York. It has also been shown on Iowa Public Television and will premiere this month on the Documentary Channel, which airs documentaries from around the world, including never-before-seen and independent films. Read more online at The film will air on the Documentary Channel on:
.            Friday, Aug. 6, 10 a.m.
.            Tuesday, Aug. 24, 1 p.m.
.            Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2 a.m.
.            Monday, Sept. 13, 11:30 a.m.

The film will continue to be broadcast in rotation on the DOC Channel over the next two years. In addition, the film will be featured for sale by the Documentary Channel's DOC Store, which offers a large selection of quality films available for purchase. Access the DOC Store online at

"A Little Salsa on the Prairie" features local Perry residents who emigrated to the rural community from Mexico, as well as Central America and the U.S. It focuses on changes in Perry that began in the 1990s when the largely white community experienced an influx of Latino workers and their families.

Many of the workers traveled to Perry from Texas, California, Mexico and Central America to work in the local meat packing plant. In 10 years, Perry's Latino population increased from 47 to 1,873, with Latinos accounting for 24.5 percent of the population by 2000.

“A Little Salsa on the Prairie” present a historical look at Perry with a focus on immigration, ethnicity and industry, specifically the presence of the meat packing plant as the major employer during the 1960s and the rise and fall of the railroad.  The film also addresses the impact of Latino immigration on the economy, society and physical environment in Perry.

The Documentary Channel, which launched in 2006 and is available on Dish, Direct TV and many cable networks, is independently owned and operated. Recently, it featured its first original series, DocTalk@USC, a half hour interview program with filmmakers conducted by Mark Harris of the University of Southern California's School of Cinema-Television. The series, taped at USC with a live audience, will start playing in the fall.

The channel was founded by Oscar nominated and Emmy winning documentarian Tom Neff and is run by President and CEO James Ackerman. It also won its first Emmy Award, for Outstanding Documentary, in September 2007, for "Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire."

For more information or to arrange a special screening of the documentary, contact Newman at or Swilky at

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Iowa Scriptwriters Alliance Workshops 2010 – Workshop #2

Mark your calendars for August 28th!!!

The Iowa Scriptwriters Alliance's August workshop is #2 of three installments for 2010 and will again focus on screenwriting. Take heart all you playwrights! Workshop #3 is in the works for October. Some big plans are being made for this workshop devoted entirely to the art of writing for the theater!

Workshop #2 will feature our special guest, Bruce Elgin! 

Bruce has been active in the independent film community for over ten years. He has an MFA in screenwriting and has written nearly twenty feature length screenplays. In addition to producing, he has directed two features and over the years has worked in nearly every position on a movie set.

Here's what will be covered in the workshop:

  • Screenwriting Basics
  • Character and Structure
  • Character Psychology
  • Heroes and Villains
  • Marketing

Attendees are encouraged to send Bruce the first two pages of any screenplay they are working on. Bruce will take a look at your script and provide feedback during the workshop regarding character introductions. Please send your first two pages in a PDF file to

Here's what else you need to know:

Cost: For ISA members - FREE
IMPA members - $20.00
Non-ISA members - $25.00 - BUT HERE'S THE BEST PART: Pay the cost of admission and receive a FREE ISA membership! This will entitle you to FREE or discounted rates to all ISA events in the coming year!

Location: Des Moines Central Library
                 1000 Grand Avenue
                 Des Moines

Time: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
We'll break for lunch around 1:00 PM. There are several eating establishments nearby.

Coffee, water and light refreshments will be provided by the ISA.

How to reserve your spot: ISA members should RSVP by e-mail to Terry Daily at .

All others make checks payable to Iowa Scriptwriters Alliance and mail to:

Andrew McDowell - ISA Treasurer
5241 Dakota Drive
West Des Moines, IA 50265

Be sure to include a note with your name, home address, and e-mail address - Note on your check "ISA Workshop #2"

E-mail Terry Daily, ISA Vice President,  with any questions:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

KCCI: Iowa Film Industry Still In Limbo

Last night, Kent Newman, IMPA Board President, appeared in KCCI's story. "Iowa Film Industry Still In Limbo."  Click here to view the story.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Don't miss "The Merry Wives of Windsor" at Salisbury House in Des Moines !

"The Merry Wives of Windsor" opened Thursday night with plenty of merriment  (including wine at intermission :)  and continues Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night with John Earl Robinson as Sir John Falstaff and Iowa Motion Picture Association Board Member Jay Villwock as Robert Shallow.  The Sunday matinee is at 2 PM.   This is Shakespeare as he meant it to be enjoyed !

FRI JULY 16    7:30PM
SAT JULY 17   7:30PM
SUN JULY 18  2:00PM
SUN JULY 18  7:30PM

Salisbury House, 4025 Tonawanda Drive, off Grand Avenue

Click here for more information.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Interested in Rotoscoping Training and Work?

Grasshorse Studios at 111 North Locust in Winfield, Iowa is looking for potential persons who have experience in or who are willing and wanting to learn rotoscoping.

Rotoscoping is an animation technique in which live-action film movement is traced over frame by frame for use in animated films. The term rotoscoping refers to the technique of manually creating a combination of two or more images into a single, final image on a live-action plate so it may be composited over another background. Think Star Wars or Lord of the Rings.

Those interested will be provided training by a Grasshorse rotoscope workshop where the individual will learn the technique, practice the process, and wrap up the class by creating a final roto-test demo to be  added to a rotoscope reel. The reel will then be sent to various outside companies in the hopeful pursuit of attracting jobs. Therefore, persons who are found qualified to fit roto positions must be local as this would not be a freelance position.

If the rotoscope demo reel is successful and brings in work, those deemed qualified from the workshop will be offered in-house working positions as needed. Again this is a local-only position and cannot be done out of house.

Email if interested.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Iowa Independent Film Frestival - Clear Lake to Host Hollywood

The 4th annual IOWA INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL is garnering a much bigger following from major movie makers, this year. The unique cinema, business and social gathering will take place in Clear Lake, Iowa, this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Arts Center in its two screening venues and The Hub youth center movie room, both in downtown near the lakefront.

Showcasing new feature length films, socially impacting documentaries, edgy short subjects and a few regional student productions this year's festival is bringing in big names and legendary people who rarely appear at film events. Over 30 provocative, inspirational and challenging productions will be offered for viewing, as submitted from all over the U.S. and Europe. Many of the attending actors and directors will be on hand after the screenings of their movies for discussion sessions. Also, industry lawyer and agent Kevin Mills will speak on financing movies and other film business issues.

There will be a gala awards ceremony held at the Arts Center on Saturday night, along with other opportunities for the public to network with movie makers during the festive weekend. The hours for screenings and other sessions will run on Friday (the 16th) from 1pm to 8pm, Saturday (the 17th) from 11am to 9pm, and Sunday (the 18th) from 1pm to 5pm.

Tickets to the screenings can be ordered on-line, purchased in advance at the Clear Lake Arts Center or simply picked up at the Arts Center on the days of the festival. They are $25 for a weekend pass, which also gets you into the awards ceremony. The day pass is $10 and individual screenings will cost $5.

For further details on specific times and movie scheduling go to

Friday, July 9, 2010


GHOST PLAYER to screen in Hollywood. The film festival will be July 10 and 11 and will celebrate sports and competition. The movie will be showing at the Mary Pickford Theater around 3pm on that Sunday.


Hardacre Film Festival 2010: Independent Film Returns to Iowa’s Longest-Running Festival

Stuck elevators, foul balls and the world’s largest lava lamp are among the filmed subjects of this year’s Hardacre Film Festival. Iowa’s longest-running film festival, celebrating its 13th year, will be held Friday and Saturday, August 6 and 7, at the historic Hardacre Theater in Tipton.

“We’re really excited about this year’s lineup—a terrific variety of subjects and filmmakers to present them,” said Will Valet, festival director. “Many of our films have shown at the world’s most prestigious film festivals, while others are premiering at the Hardacre. It’s a world-class festival that gives movie lovers in our region a great opportunity to experience them and meet the people who made them.”

The 2010 festival will feature dozens of feature-length and short films from all over the world, including two feature-length narrative films, six documentaries, seven animated films and more than a dozen short live-action films.

Among this year’s highlights:


    • American Grindhouse—This documentary (from Iowa-raised director Elijah Drenner) covers the history of the American exploitation film. The movie examines this often-overlooked category of U.S. “shock” cinema in an informative and amusing way.

    • Ballhawks—This documentary tells the story of Cubs fans who chase baseballs—and dreams—outside the ivy-covered walls of Wrigley Field. Filmed in 2004, when Wrigley announced plans to expand the bleachers and change “ballhawking” forever.

    • Between Floors—This funny, claustrophobic and arresting film examines the human condition through five stuck elevators and the people trapped inside them. Each elevator forces its occupants to confront their isolation, themselves and each other in varied and unexpected ways.

    • Cleanflix—This documentary explores the companies that make R-rated films “clean” for families and religious groups and the unhappy film directors whose work is going under the knife.

    • My Vietnam, Your Iraq—This heartbreaking and inspiring documentary tells the stories of Vietnam veterans and their children who have served in each generation’s war. This looks at the pride, challenges, fears, prejudices and emotions they have gone through during and after deployment.

    • World’s Largest—Shot partially in Iowa, this documentary captures the changing landscape of small-town America. Desperate for tourism, hundreds of small towns claim the “world's largest” objects, from 15-foot fiberglass strawberries to 40-foot concrete pheasants. This film visits 58 such sites and profiles one Washington town’s four-year struggle to build the world’s largest lava lamp.


    • The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger—In this animated film from animation legend Bill Plympton, a bovine is mesmerized by a marketing billboard and chases the goal of being the best hamburger he can be.

    • Heartland Transport—This short documentary, shot partially in Iowa City, concerns 17 gay and lesbian couples who define marriage equality as they take a chartered bus from St. Louis to Iowa City to be legally married.

    • Mind the Gap—In this hilarious short from Canada, a beautiful young woman sits next to a sweet elderly man on a train. The ride is anything but boring in this sweet comedy about first and last im pressions.

    • Patient—In this short, a man and a woman meet at a coffee shop for the first time. As if on an awkward date, they exchange timid pleasantries. But as their conversation unfolds, the horrifying truth behind their meeting is revealed.

    • Plastic Bag—This timely short film by hot indie filmmaker Ramin Bahrani (Man Push Cart, Goodbye Solo) traces the existential journey of a plastic bag (voiced by legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog) searching for its lost maker, the woman who took it home from the store and eventually discarded it.

    • Trophy Wife—This short film (from Marion, Iowa) concerns a husband who struggles with failure and rejection in his hobby and in his marriage. When everything finally falls apart, Frank finds a way to resolve his taxidermy hobby and come to terms with his wife.

The complete list of films and a schedule for the 2010 festival will be released online at in early July.

Filmmakers are regularly in attendance, present their films, and take questions from audience members following screenings. The festival takes place during Tipton’s Ridiculous Days sidewalk sale event.

The Hardacre will give out awards including Best Feature Film, Best Documentary, Best Short Film, Best Student Film, Best Animated Film, Best Experimental Film and the Audience Award, which is voted on by audience members during the festival. Award winners will be announced in July.

Admission to any of the Hardacre’s three programs—Opening Night, Saturday Day or Closing Night—is $8 each. An all-festival pass can be purchased for $20. Films on Friday beg in at 6 p.m. On Saturday, screenings will run all day; from 9 a.m. through 11 p.m.

For a full schedule or more information about the Hardacre Film Festival, go to


Shot in July of 2009, “A Million Spokes” is a feature-length documentary filmed during the largest and oldest bicycle touring event in the world. An annual bicycle ride, RAGBRAI® takes place in Iowa over seven days in July where thousands of bicyclists descend on the state to partake in an adventure that is singular in its ability to attract some of the most unique people you will ever encounter. Some come for the challenge, some come for speed, some come just to party and drink through the ride and others derive very specific meanings for the ride.  This special screening in Sioux City prior to the 2010 RAGBRAI® will mark the first time this film will be viewed by the public.

The film's director, Varda Hardy, producers, Ken Gorrell and Talia Rodriguez-Shakur will join many of the characters audiences meet in the film to screen the project in its first public viewing. In addition, there will be a number of surprise guests in attendance – celebrities, film executives and film critics to be announced at a later date.

The film will be screened at the Riviera 4 Theater, 714 4th Street, Sioux City, IA 51101.  Tickets for the 5 pm Friday, July 23 special screening are $25.00 per person.  Admission includes a free medium bag of popcorn and medium drink.  A raffle will also be held.  Admission to all other show times is $10.00 per person.  Additional show times include:

Friday:  7:00 pm, 9:00 pm, 11:00 pm

Saturday: 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm, 5:00 pm, 7:00 pm, 9:00 pm, 11:00 pm

Visit to reserve your ticket online.

Record number of filmmakers sign-up for the 48 Hour Film Project

Forty-seven filmmaking teams have registered for the sixth year of the Des Moines 48 Hour Film Project and the chance to win the Best of City prize of $1000 cash! Only one team slot remains available and once initial registration is complete, filmmakers will be put on the waiting list in case any unexpected slots open.

Register today at - all filmmaker positions are first come, first serve and, as you can see, they go fast. "This is the year we've been preparing for," states 48HFP Producer Sam Tuomi. "We are thrilled at the turnout and expect this year's 48 Hour Film Project to be filled to capacity with talent from all over Iowa."

Des Moines 48HFP is making it easier for actors, crew, and filmmakers to come together by hosting a Casting Social at 7pm on July 19 at the Lotus Moments Events Center (2134 E Grand Ave - DSM). Well-known Casting Director Kimberly Busbee of AriesWorks Entertainment will present a free Workshop for Actors during the Social. The session will cover a variety of techniques for actors with limited experience acting for the camera. It will also focus on helping filmmakers get the best results from new talent. Make sure and bring copies of your headshot or contact information on paper to be given out to the film team representatives.

The Des Moines 48HFP kicks-off July 23 with filmmakers receiving their required elements - genre, character, prop, line of dialogue. Filmmakers have just 48 hours to produce a short film in the hopes to win the "Best of City" award along with its $1000 cash prize. That award also qualifies the filmmakers to compete for "The Best 48 Hour Film" in the International 48 Hour Film Project scheduled for early 2011. Over the past five years, Des Moines has been well represented at the International 48 Hour Film Project, including winning the international grand prize in 2005.

All films produced in Iowa July 23-25 will be shown during public screenings at the Fleur Cinema and Cafe on July 28 and 29. Besides the $1000 cash prize, filmmakers have an opportunity to win other awards and prizes valued at over $1000, as well. Tickets for the public screenings are available at or at the Fleur Cinema box office on the day of show.

July 19, 2010 @ 7pm
Casting Social - Lotus Moments Event Center (2134 E Grand Ave - DSM).
*  Includes Free Workshop for Actors with Kimberly Busbee.

July 23-25, 2010
Des Moines 48HFP competition weekend
* July 23 - Kick-off Des Moines Art Center for filmmakers only
* July 25 - Completed films must be dropped off by 7:30 pm
* July 28 and 29 - Public screenings of all completed 2010 Des Moines 48HFP entries and vote for your favorite Fleur Cinema and Cafe (4545 Fleur Dr - DSM)  Tickets are available at or at the Fleur Cinema box office on the day of show.

August 12, 2010
Best of City Celebration (open to the public)
* Includes screenings of the top 12 judged films from the 2010 Des Moines 48HFP entries at Fleur Cinema Cafe (4545 Fleur Dr - DSM)
* Special After Party at the Des Moines Social Club (1408 Locust St - DSM)


Monday, March 22, 2010

SF 2380 Passes

On Friday, March 19, the House added an amendment to SF 2380. While adding the Film Program to the tax credit incentive review schedule contained within the bill, the amendment added an additional year to the suspension, extending it until July 1, 2013.

IMPA, our lobbyists and other film program activists, Becky Gruening, Gene Hamilton, Jay Villwock and David Thrasher, attempted to have the date amended by the Senate to the original July 1, 2012. Unfortunately, due to the large, encompassing nature of the tax credit bill, the Senators did not amend the bill and it passed today 31 - 19. Senators and Representatives reassured us that they would work to create and pass legislation for a new, revamped program next session, which would override the 2013 suspension. This is where our focus now lies and we will keep you updated on our progress.

While the outcome was disappointing, the hard advocacy work undertaken by industry professionals and supporters has made a difference and the program was not eliminated this session. I and our Board of Directors thank you for all that you have done.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Time to Turn Up the Industry Advocacy Again

This week there has been movement related to the Film, Television and Video Promotion Program at the Legislature.  Our lobbyists have informed us that the Senate Ways and Means committee is leaning towards including the suspension bill into the large tax credit program bill which should be introduced next week.  At first, it may seem like bad news, but in the end, our lobbyists believe it will end up the same as if SF 2319, the current suspension bill, was passed.

Senator Dotzler informed our lobbyists that the program suspension under the large tax credit program bill would be for two years, instead of one; however, Senator Dotzler will still convene a group during the summer to craft program changes and, at the start of the next session,  immediately try to get the changes passed and the suspension date lifted upon enactment of the revision bill.  If this would occur, the suspension could be lifted prior to July 1, 2011, which would prove out better than the current suspension bill.  While IMPA is not pleased with this current situation, Senator Dotzler reminded us that Senator Bolkcom and Senator Quirmbach are still working on bills that would eliminate the program.  One of these bills, SSB 3121 will most likely pass out of subcommittee at a meeting on Monday at 2 pm in room 22.

It is time to turn up the volume on our advocacy again.  Your work has made a huge difference, thus far, and is required to kill the elimination bill.  Please write or call your elected officials to remind them of virtues of the program and ask them to fix it, not nix it.  Visit, to determine who your legislative representatives are and to obtain their e-mail addresses.  An e-mail template is provided below for your use.  Also, please forward this message to your contacts and encourage them to do the same.

IMPA representatives will be at the Senate Subcommittee meeting on Monday and encourages you to attend to show support for the program if your schedule allows.

Email Template


Do not eliminate the Film, Television and Video Promotion Program!

The program provides multiple benefits to Iowa’s economy and culture. The tax incentives facilitated a fast growing and exciting economic engine for Iowa during a severe economic downturn.  It should be recognized that the film promotion program was achieving its intended goals prior to the suspension.

The Film, Television and Video Promotion Program:
·     Creates skilled/high technology employment
·     Diversifies state’s economic industries
·     Attracts new and retains current residents
·     Funnels out-of-state money into local economies
·     Acts as a promotional vehicle for the state
·     Increases state tourism

Film, television and video production is a clean, green industry that provides good jobs in both urban and rural locations. Please visit,, to view a snapshot of the economic impact this program has had on our state.

It is my understanding that SSB 3121 will likely be voted out of the Senate Ways and Means Subcommittee on Monday.  I ask for you not to support this bill and to work towards fixing the program instead of eliminating it.

Kind regards,

America's Got Talent Looking for Season 5 Contestants

NBC’s America’s Got Talent has concluded its casting in the larger cities; however, it is extending its auditions to parts of the South and Midwest and is seeking individuals interested in auditioning for the program on March 28th in St. Louis.

This is an invite only audition showcase for about 50-60 acts. Everyone needs to be cherry picked and pre-approved for the audition. Talent/artists who would like to submit for a private audition time will need to send the following to Shannon McIntosh at

Name and Contact Info (city, email, phone #)


Description of Act

Number of People in Act

A Video Link(s) to Act (this is a MUST; no one will be considered without one)

If you are a vocalist, the video needs to be a cover. The network will not license anyone's original music, so you must have a repertoire of covers to sing on the air if you're selected.

Decisions will be made by the 20th as to who is going to be asked to come and perform/audition by Ms. McIntosh and the Producers.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Grasshorse Wins Big at the ADDYS!

At the American Advertising Federation: Cedar Rapids-Iowa City ADDY Awards Gala Celebration held February 20, 2010, Grasshorse, won eight gold ADDYs for the highest level of creative excellence as determined by a panel of judges based on the quality of work in respective categories.  Over 350 entries were entered in competition across all categories.

The awards were given by the AAF to recognize talented people and to reward excellence in the art of advertising with the goal of enhancing advertising through various programs that benefit public service, internships, advertising, education and consumer awareness.

Receiving eight gold and one silver awards for the Grasshorse team effort was Kathy Buxton, CEO, and Stephen Jennings, COO  of the Mt. Pleasant, Iowa-based Company and IMPA members.  Grasshorse focuses on animation and visual effects content for film, television and new media production.

The awards were given for the Grasshorse teams work on Jeep Treasure and Skelanimals internet and television projects.  Jeep Treasure is an eye-catching and quirky take on extreme driving for the 2010 Jeep Rubicon-so extreme that it was shot in the bottom of an aquarium using Grasshorse’s new proprietary technology, Protomotion™. 

Protomotion was developed by Grasshorse Technologies, Inc. and then commercialized in 2009 through an award from the Iowa Department of Economic Development.  Protomotion greatly enhances the quality and efficiency of animation development.

The Grasshorse ADDYs were given in the categories of cinematography, photography, special effects for internet and film, self promotion broadcasting, regional/national TV consumer products, internet commercials and webisodes.

If you would like to see the Jeep spot, check it out at Join them on Facebook at and on Twitter at

Friday, February 19, 2010

Help Get Amemendments Added to SF2319

SSB 3206, which calls for the suspension of the Film, Television and Video Promotion Program until July 1, 2011, has moved to the Senate Ways and Means committee and is now titled SF 2319.

IMPA, our lobbyists and other industry supporters are working to add two amendments to the bill that would:

1. Change the reinstate date to January 1, 2011, instead of July 1, 2011.
2. Formalize an industry task force or committee to monitor the program for ROI and work on ways to revamp the program during the suspension.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee can make these changes prior to the bill going to a vote on the floor, which is much easier to do than on the senate floor.

We need your help in order to get these two points added. Please contact your Senator and all of the Senators on the Ways and Means Committee and ask them to add the requested amendments to SF 2319. A template is provided below for your use. Also, please forward this message to your contacts and encourage them to do the same.

Click here to find the e-mails and phone numbers for the members of the Senate Ways and Means Committee and visit the Iowa General Assembly website, to determine who your legislative representatives are and to obtain their e-mail addresses.

Please attend a public forum if you are able to. Click here to view an updated schedule.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Full Court Press - Legislative Advocacy Day Tomorrow

Tomorrow, Wednesday, February 17, is Cultural Advocacy Day at the Capitol, followed by the Iowa Cultural Coalition legislative reception at the state historical building from 5-7pm. We would like to produce a strong response from our members and friends to try to save the film promotion program.  Current proposed legislation will extend the suspension of the program through 7/1/2011 (SF 2319) or end the program (SSB 3121 & SF 2118).

The legislators are under the impression that there will still be production activity in Iowa during the suspension. We disagree, and feel there will be little to no production.  This is why we believe that it is preferable to revise and launch a new program while continuing to expedite the investigation and filing any appropriate charges; and also processing the tax credits for productions that played by the rules.

IMPA will have a booth in the Capitol Rotunda of the capitol from 10am-2pm playing trailers from feature films produced in Iowa and distributing our talking points which can be downloaded here.  We will then be at the State Historical Building for the Iowa Cultural Coalition's legislative Reception from 5-7pm. Robert Bluestone, the event's keynote speaker, will make some specific remarks about the multiple benefits of an effective film promotion program such as New Mexico's.

Please contact your legislators again with this latest information and attend the Cultural Day at the Capitol from 10 am - 2 pm and the legislative reception from 5-7pm if you are able. This is our last chance to try to save the program from being suspended until 7/1/2011!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Local Legislative Forums Schedule

Attending Local Legislative Forums is a one-two advocacy punch.  At these meetings you are able to share your personal stories and opinion on the film incentive program with your legislators and members of you communities.

We recommend:
1. Printing copies of our Industry Overview and Legislative Recommendations

2. Preparing a personal story and question to ask.  For example:

"I was a grip on "The Experiment" which employed over 50% Iowa Crew in addition to several other films due to the Film Incentive Program.  Are you in favor of creating jobs like this for Iowans?"

There are over 40 meetings this weekend across the state.  Click here to view the schedule.

House Economic Growth Presentation

Yesterday, Tammy Shutters and Kent Newman from IMPA, along with Becky Gruening from the Greater Des Moines Film Commission, Susan Gorrell from Film SE Iowa and RRell Entertainment and Ken Gorrell from All Special Effects and RRell Entertainment presented our legislative recommendations and answered questions concerning the Film Incentive Program at a House Economic Growth committee meeting.

The meeting went well and there is support for trying to create a bill that will reinstate a revised program but, as I have said before, it is going to be a tough fight.

Click here to view the presentation which inculdes an impressive snapshot of local economic impact.

Quad Cities' Mayors Support Film Incentive Program

The Quad Cities' Mayors issued a letter in support of maintaining and improving the Film, Television and Video Promotion Program.

View the letter here.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Future of Film in the Quad Cities and Iowa

IMPA would like to thank our co-sponsors, Quad Cities CVB and Quad City Film Coalition for organizing "The Future of Film in the Quad Cities and Iowa" meeting.  Also, thank you to all of the Quad Cities' business leaders and public for coming out on such a rotten weather day.  We are sorry that we were not able to make in person but are happy to report that we heard it was standing room only!

We heard several stories on what has been gained due to the Film Promotion Program and what has been lost since the suspension.  Help IMPA share your stories by e-mailing us a written account at or by recording your Iowa Film Story for our You Tube channel.  You can watch our current collection at .

Here is a copy of IMPA's presentation.

Read the two Quad Cities Dispatch stories on the the event:
"Iowa outlines film incentive changes"
"New film incentive plan on way, audience told"

Friday, January 8, 2010

IMPA Disagrees with Tax Credit Review Panel’s Recommendations

Today, the Tax Credit Review Panel released their formal recommendations to the Governor and Legislature.  The full report can be viewed here.

The Iowa Motion Picture Association is disappointed with the Tax Credit Review Panel’s recommendation to eliminate the Film, Television and Video Promotion Program.

IMPA disagrees with this recommendation and believes that the program should be maintained. The program provides multiple benefits to Iowa’s economy and culture. The tax incentives facilitated a fast growing and exciting economic engine for Iowa during a severe economic downturn. It should be recognized that the film promotion program was achieving its intended goals.

The Film, Television and Video Promotion Program:
• Creates skilled/high technology employment
• Diversifies the state’s economic industries
• Attracts new and retains current residents
• Funnels out-of-state money into local economies
• Acts as a promotional vehicle for the state
• Increases state tourism

Film, television, and video production is a clean, Green industry that provides good jobs and equal opportunity for urban and rural locations.

Please contact your state legislators and ask them not to eliminate the Iowa Film, Television and Video Promotion Program.