Friday, July 9, 2010

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

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