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2023 Selected Films

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A Brush With Death

8 mins

Dir. Yuval Sol Boker | Short

An Israeli mossad agents goes to a funeral and finds out he's dead.

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Baseball with Dad

14 mins

Dir. Cody McHan | Short 

A misguided father forces his unwilling son to spend a day with him learning to play the family pastime of baseball. A tradition that goes back further than he could ever imagine. With the help of an old family bat, both sides learn more about each other and what a relationship means between a father and son.

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Bopper and Me

1 hr 35 mins

Dir. David Taylor | Feature

A film of a man’s journey to right a wrong, getting The Big Bopper inducted into the Rock & Roll hall of fame, filmed in the USA, the events in Iowa in February 1959 are central to the story of the film, The Surf Ballroom an iconic venue in ClearLake plays a big part as John Cumberland a scrap metal dealer from the North East of England sets out his goal, that is to get the Big Bopper recognised like his fellow musicians Buddy Holly & Richie Valens. With testimony from people who were there at the time,relatives & friends of those killed on that fateful day. Music from the 50’s & 60’s also featuring new compositions, it is foot tapping entertainment. An emotional trip into the past.

A Brush wth Death
Baseball with Dad
Bopper and Me
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Built to Last

4 mins

Dir. Pete Brown & Alayna Kustka | Music Video

A cinematic music video that watches a young man deal with the pain of loss, and navigate his journey of healing.

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Burst the Silence

1 hr 42 mins

Dir. Eric D. Schaeffer | Feature

Burst The Silence is a musical fable about a father and son and a gift that gives voice to a haunted past. Robbie is a precocious kid growing up with his father, Konnie. A charismatic and irrepressible storyteller, Konnie is also shadowed by a memory that has remained hidden in the woods of his childhood: how he, as a young boy, survived the Holocaust. A turn in both their lives comes when Konnie gives seven-year-old Robbie a guitar, neither of them yet realizing that it will allow Robbie to tell the only story his father never could. Burst The Silence is an elegiac memoir about forgetting and remembering and being lost. And being found.

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Combined Efforts: Changing
Perspectived of Disabilites
through Performance

53 mins

Dir. Jake Daniels | Documentary

Combined Efforts is a documentary about a community theater company called Combined Eforts in Iowa City, Iowa that seeks to include people with disabilities into the creative arts via stage performances. This documentary follows the cast and crew of Combined Efforts' production of The Beggar's Musical, as well as current and former members of Combined Efforts to highlight their history and mission in the artistic community. It also serves to inform the audience about the importance of inclusivity in all artistic endeavors.

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Cupid Jr

6 mins

Dir. Adam Yuster | Student

A shy teen attempts to woo his first crush with the help of Cupid's brash son.



24 mins

Dir. Darren Miller | Short

After a near-fatal skateboarding accident that left him with a traumatic brain injury, he was driven to get back on his skateboard against all odds. Based on a true story.

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Good Riddance

9 mins

Dir. Jake Roth | Iowa

A twisted story of witchcraft & revenge.

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How do you like your eggs?

11 mins

Dir. Wilder Troxell | Short

“How do you like your eggs?” is a short comedic film about a South Asian woman who drags her reluctant mother to a fertility clinic to learn more about freezing eggs, only to discover the doctor is a handsome Indian man the mother is suddenly interested in setting her up with!

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Ice Cream. Sladoled.

13 mins

Dir. Steve Spremo | Short

A Day in the Life of a recent immigrant, where no one understands anyone else, and a trip to buy ice cream triggers a series of absurd misadventures.


Interception: Jayne Kennedy American Sportscaster 

15 mins

Dir. Safiya Songhai | Documentary

A bronze-skin bombshell rocks the world of Sunday Morning Football ---millions tune in, but few know the tumultuous story of Jayne Kennedy, the first Black woman to boldly run interception on the racial lines of American sportscasting.



17 mins

Dir. Mackenzie Ramsey | Student

A young couple's argument during the intermission of a high school play forces them to relive their relationship from the moment they met to their biggest fights, making them rethink their idea of love.

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Lex Talionis

9 mins

Dir. Kevin Issacson | Local

Two sisters struggle with death, religion, forgiveness, and retribution in very different ways.

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Into the Lions Den

24 mins

Dir. Quinn Early | Short

A Marine turned football coach creates a winning tradition wherever he goes. He builds character, and is a mentor to young men. His courage is tested in 1965 when he gives a scholarship to a high school football star who happens to be Black. Together, the two would help reshape the landscape of college football history in the south.

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15 mins

Dir. Hannah Meyer | Local

A maintenance man must revisit his past and use his skills as a former CIA operative in order to survive a another night shift.

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Jerry's Last Mission

58 mins

Dir. Louisa Merino | Documentary

P-51 fighter pilot Jerry Yellin flew combat missions on Iwo Jima and over Japan, including the last combat mission of World War II. He returned home with PTSD, suffering with survivor's guilt and daily thoughts of suicide, and with a deep hatred for the Japanese. This is the story of how Yellin overcame PTSD and how he was forced to face his enemy once again when his youngest son moved to Japan and married the daughter of a Kamikaze pilot.

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Loud Enough

1 hr 1 min

Dir. Hilary Klotz Steinman | Documentary

In the shadow of the fifth year anniversary of the #MeToo movement, this intimate, personal film following a sexual assault survivor and her family explores and reflects the Herculean effort still required in America for a survivor of sexual violence and their loved ones to hold an attacker and the judicial system accountable. Loud Enough is empowering and inspiring to people everywhere, not just sexual assault survivors, to understand concretely how criminal justice systems can and must change for there to be accountability and justice.

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Meeting Michael

8 mins

Dir. Verlisha Thomas & Frank Boyd | Iowa

A stranger on a mission to restore hope and spark faith, finds it in others...



8 mins

Dir. Taylor Young & Grace Bales | Student

Three young mutants discover a vat of radioactive waste in the ruins of the Midwest and decide to sell it as a new beauty product in the nearby town of Overpass. But when their fresh new product draws too much attention from the grotesque locals, chaos manages to handle the situation, Martin is forced to do what it takes to keep the family together. Hush is a short about loyalty, fear and about growing up way too fast.

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Minor Setback

4 mins

Dir. Jake Armstrong | Music Video

Take a trip into this music video for 2 time Grammy nominee Jay Watson (of Tame Impala) and Ambrose Kenny-Smiths (of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard) song "Minor Setback" through a world of hand painted 35mm film and 3D animation.

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Mirror Me

2 mins

Dir. CJ Santo | Student

A girl looks uses a program on futuristic computer-like mirror called "Mirror Me" where she is able to see what she would look like with different features. While customizing herself, her mirror counterpart comes to life and sabotages the transfer process.

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Miss Fortune

20 mins

Dir. Ellie Pink | Student

A young queer girl is entered into an eerie beauty pageant, of unknown stakes, that ultimately turns against her.

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Moving On

20 mins

Dir. Luke James Bell | Local

In a story told with no dialog, Kelly and Dustin attempt to begin a new relationship. This is made difficult when both struggle to move on from their past. This film was shot in the Iowa counties of Cerro Gordo and Hancock.

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Ms. Rossi 2: Ms. Rossi Takes 
The Cake

18 mins

Dir. Pat Battistini | Short

While on her travels as a Loan Officer for the bank, Ms. Rossi encounters some obstacles along the way while just trying to do her job.

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Night Drives: The Human

4 mins

Dir. Jono Hunter | Animation

In an episode of this yet-to-be-released web series, video game executives discuss the new DLC for one of the best city simulation games of all time.

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Nitrate and Water Quality

10 mins

Dir. Nick Ohde| Iowa

How does nitrate get into our water? How can we keep it in our farm fields where it can do the most good? This animated video explains how nitrate affects water quality and how farming practices can help.

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Not Just Deliveries

5 mins

Dir. Andrew William Paulson | Animation

An anthropomorphic bat works at a retail job, delivering online orders to customers. However, one of his runs to deliver to a customer is severely hindered, racing against the time limit his boss has set him.

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One Second at a Time: 
Battling the Monster of Addiction

1 hr 27 mins

Dir. Tim Searfoss | Documentary

Embark on a transformative journey with "One Second at a Time." This extraordinary documentary follows Christine Ortoll's battle against mental illness, addiction, and the deadly presence of fentanyl. This gripping film captivates and ignites vital conversations, and inspires positive change. Shedding light on urgent societal issues, it goes beyond personal struggles to uncover the broader challenges surrounding mental health and addiction. Join the movement towards a more compassionate and supportive world with One Second at a Time.

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P@ssword Pr0blems

6 mins

Dir. Mitch Daniel McCallson | Short

Issac tries to login to his computer

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Play Dead

2 mins

Dir. Zijiang Yang | Animation

A lovely bear is sniffing a flower in the woods. It sees a hiker walking by. So, the bear approaches the hiker and tries to make friends with him! However, this hiker doesn’t want to be friends with a beast. Frightened, he collapses and plays dead. The friendly bear panicked when his human friend suddenly collapsed. It’s trying to save the person in front of it. So, it began to use various methods to awaken the human in front of

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Radio Telescope

17 mins

Dir. Tanner Beard | Short

Set in 1984, a former NASA Scientist and his young son make a discovery in his make-shift laboratory located in the garage.



20 mins

Dir. Joe Garcia | Student

A Midwest story. Part of living is losing.
Jonah, a depressed college student, has drifted away from his passion of songwriting. After meeting someone new, Jonah is forced to choose between a relationship and rekindling his relationship with music.



3 mins

Dir. Kristopher Gathercoal | Music Video

The best man at a private wedding is distracted when a childhood friend shows up. When the old friend awkwardly runs from the party, the best man chases after her to see if she's okay. Away from the larger group, they realize where they belong.

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Rewriting Mallory

21 mins

Dir. Emerson Adams | Student

"Rewriting Mallory" follows the lives of two people struggling to maintain control amidst the messy reality of an unpredictable life. Joshua, a young man dealing with grief after the passing of his sister, turns to writing as a means of processing his emotions. Mallory, a young woman who seems to always be one step behind, finds her life crumbling in front of her over the course of one awful day. As their paths intersect, we are left to wonder: are we really the authors of our own stories?



31 mins

Dir. Carrsan T. Morrissey  | Short

A newly-wedded couple's relationship is challenged when one of them contracts a mysterious illness.

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Saving Monarchs

20 mins

Dir. Kana Rosemarie Hutchens | Student

Well-intentioned actions can sometimes have unintended consequences. Recent studies point out the negative effects of captive raising monarchs.

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Seeing Kelly

19 mins

Dir. Maximillian Wright | Student

Ash faces the challenges of being a caretaker so young in his marriage to Sage. While at the pharmacy to pick up his wife's medications, an old flame, Kelly, tempts him into living an easier life away from his troubles.


Shift: The RAGBRAI

1 hr

Dir. Kelsey Kremer & Courtney Crowder | Documentary

Can you find yourself in the middle of nowhere?
“SHIFT” tells the story of RAGBRAI — the world’s oldest, largest and longest recreational bicycle ride —through ground-breaking photography and intimate interviews with three bicyclists and a pair of community leaders. Grappling with triumphs and tragedies, the group searches for peace, clarity and redemption, pushing themselves to their limits and changing their lives in the course of a weeklong ride across Iowa.

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Shut the Box

16 mins

Dir. Brittany Benedict  | Iowa

As Jennifer finds herself aged out of the foster care system, she must clear out the house her grandfather left her. She enlists the help of her two friends, other fosters, she met in the system. Shawn is hopeful this is the opportunity he’s been waiting for to take his relationship with Jennifer to the next level. That is until Nick a laid-back partier shows up to add a little excitement to the mix. Things take a dark turn when Nick suggests they play a simple game and unleash the supernatural powers of Roma. While this game is not the game of life it is one they must play for their lives.

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Smile as You Kill

1 hr 26 mins

Dir. Michael Sarrow | Feature

With only a few months to live, a desperate man kidnaps a successful advertising director and makes one demand: Create an online campaign to pay for treatment… or share his fate.

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Squirrel Meets Boris

9 mins

Dir. Mark Goshorn Jones | Short

It's a red letter day when a gay teenager discovers that the new Baptist Preacher has a secret life.

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Standing Strong:
Elizabeth Catlett

56 mins

Dir. Kevin J Kelley | Documentary 

The struggles and triumphs of Elizabeth Catlett Mexican/American artist and political activist who was a pioneer in the Black Arts movement.

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State of Grace

1 hr 50 mins

Dir. Stephen Wallace Pruitt | Feature

Following a surprise arrest for possession of eleven grams of the powerful opioid fentanyl, 31 year-old single mother Erin Sanders loses control of her life and the custody of her one-year-old daughter, Grace, to the Missouri foster care system. Desperate to get Grace back, Erin must conquer her demons and prove to the court that she still can be a responsible parent. "State of Grace" is a beautiful and deeply moving film about the power of community and the price of love.

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Still Breathing

18 mins

Dir. Emma Birko | Student

Anna’s life has stagnated. While having a casual relationship with her ex boyfriend she is working as an intern at a public school. Nothing seems to make sense, and when Anna finds out she is pregnant she has to make a choice. Because is it morally justifiable to bring new life into a world on fire?

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Sucks To Be Vegan

13 mins

Dir. Derek James Smith | Iowa

A dark-comedy about a young vegan woman who has been bitten by a vampire and now must find a way to feed.



18 mins

Dir. Brock Forrette | Short

A mysterious package arrives at Paul and Terri's door. What it contains could either save or end their passionless marriage.

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That Guy In Brown

7 mins

Dir. Matthew Tribble | Iowa

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That's Enough Now Thanks

16 mins

Dir. Aquila Chase-Daniel | Short 

An anxious young human struggles to navigate the intricacies of cellular communication.

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The Bridge

32 mins

Dir. Courtney Ball| Short

Two boys from different cultures are adventurous best friends, but their fathers' prejudices threaten to pull them apart. A poignant drama mixed with boyish humor, "The Bridge" is a beautiful story about how friendship between younger people can help overcome cultural conflict and trauma from the past.

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The Collector

6 mins

Dir. Renaud Gelinas | Student

For the first time in three years of a family conflict, Charlotte, an 8 year old girl, is visiting her grandfather. Even if he is rigid at first, they will get to know each other because of certain collector's items and their stories of where they come from.

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The Luminarians: Making the Luminary Loppet  

18 mins

Dir. Amber Danger Johnson | Documentary

One frozen night every year in Minneapolis, MN, a group of volunteers called the Luminarians create an immersive outdoor experience to bring the community together.

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The More We Get Together

12 mins

Dir. Daniel Roberts | Short 

Delia, 25, panics when she finds out her dad is in the hospital with COVID symptoms. That is, until she hears strange noises coming from the closet…and out tumbles Gracie, Delia’s adorable childhood therapy puppet.

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The Ten Commandments of Banquet Serving  

8 mins

Dir. Griffin "The" Hansen | Student

A film-noir created for the Des Moines 48 Hour Film Project. It went on to win "Best Use of Genre" and was the runner-up for "Best Trailer."

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The Voice in Isabel
Fleiss’s Office  

6 mins

Dir. Jim Haverkamp | Short 

A woman with an unusual malady--cobweb buildup in the throat--receives an even more unusual treatment in this adaptation of a surreal poem by North Carolina writer Virgil Renfroe.

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They Came From All Over

14 mins

Dir. Rayka Zehtabchi | Documentary & Iowa 

They Came from All Over highlights the important role small businesses play within their local communities. A love letter to small businesses everywhere, the film follows grocery store owner, Tom Mulholland, as he confronts the possibility of losing his family business and the impact it can have on his small Iowa town.

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Touch of Heaven

9 mins

Dir. Charlie Balsar | Student

A conflicted priest is finally able to choose between his faith and the free-spirited woman he has fallen for, after experiencing an eye-opening vision.



1 hr 20 mins

Dir. Alexandra Clayton & Michael Sinnott | Feature

Six women, sold on the promise of radical transformation, travel to Bali into the hands of an influencer guru and get slapped with reality: change is messy AF.

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What I Need

13 mins

Dir. Jake Skrok | Short 

Two lifelong friends try to reconnect a year after breaking up. But on their snack run for one who is now pregnant and married they find there are still feelings between them.

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You Should Have Killed Me

1 hr 13 mins

Dir. Michael James Minard | Feature & Iowa

You Should Have Killed Me is a crime, action, drama about a man whose life revolves around the underground crime world. He has a reputation for violence, and is respected on the streets, but one event flips his world upside down. You Should Have Killed Me is a story of revenge, sacrifice, and ultimately justice... Or so we hope.

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One Beer

14 mins

Dir. Joseph Ziad Khoury | Student

Three generations of women must reckon with the cognitive decline of their family's beloved grandfather.

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