2022 Selected Films
29 Years, A Second Chance
Dir. Steve Saunders | Documentary
Hymel volunteers to serve his country as a B-52 pilot during the Vietnam War. This decision forever changes the course of Bob’s life. His B-52 “ASH I” is hit by a pair of surface-to-air missiles over Hanoi, North Vietnam the day after Christmas, 1972. The crew nurses the severely damaged plane back to Utapao, Thailand where they crash on landing. Bob is rescued from the burning wreckage, recovers from his injuries, and completes a long career with the Air Force. Haunted by the memory of the ASH I crew killed in the crash; Bob joins the Defense Intelligence Agency as a civilian. He finds himself in the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Fate catches up to him when, 29 years after surviving the crash of ASH I, he is the only person with ties to the U.S. Air Force who is killed when the airliner, hijacked by terrorists, slams into the Pentagon on that tragic day.
Dir. James Lantz | Short
Through his bare feet, a troubled teen feels something wrong with the Earth. Granddad
A Waste of Time
Dir. Isaac Hall Prevatt | Animation
A man attempts to find the time, which leads to a waste of everyone’s.
All Roads End
Dir. Michael Minard | Short & Iowa Made
All Roads End tells the story of Sylas, a doting father and husband whose life takes an unsuspected turn when he meets Dominic, a man still reeling with grief from losing his family. A thriller that navigates the path of grief, anger, and regret.
Autumn Artistry via Canoe
Dir. Bruce McKee | Local
Dale has solo-paddled the Winnebago River in North Iowa in every month of every year for nearly two decades. This film, the third in a series, highlights his Autumn canoe floats, emphasizing river stewardship and passing on the joy of paddling to the next generations. Narrated with his prose and observations of his passion of paddling and nature around him.
Dir. Kaitlyn Busbee | Student
A young woman confronts her trauma by dealing with the only thing she has power over: her mattress.
Dir. Arik Hess | Short & Student
An Arizona Ranger travels to the tiny town of Agua Fria to locate the deadly outlaw Texas Red. This western short film is inspired by the classic Marty Robbins song, “Big Iron.”
Dir. Brad Allgood & Steve Dorst | Women Filmmaker
Dani's Twins captures the pregnancy and early parenting journey of Daniela Izzie, one of the few quadriplegics in history to ever give birth to twins. While a source of great joy, Dani’s twin pregnancy is highly unusual and susceptible to an array of risks, ranging from blood pressure spikes that could lead to a stroke to the almost-certain likelihood of preterm labor. When the Covid-19 pandemic strikes, it raises the stakes for an already complicated pregnancy. Amid these ups and downs, Dani’s story depicts her unwavering determination against all odds to deliver healthy babies and be a great mother.
1 hr 15 mins
Dir. Harper Philbin | Feature
Driftless is a feature-length drama about Nova Abbey, a park ranger at work during a state government shutdown on a busy 4th of July weekend, protecting the park from the people and the people from each other.
Dir. Latesha Merkel | Animation
Embrace is an animated short film about asexuality--an orientation generally defined by a lack of sexual attraction, regardless of gender. The narrative explores the common asexual experience of feeling different than most of the population, and the isolation, confusion, and self-loathing that difference can create. However, the story also emphasizes the self-love and joy that can come from recognition of one's asexuality and the asexual community, and how it's possible to embrace the orientation by viewing it in a different light.
Dir. Thomas Tulak | Short
Loss shapes our lives in very unexpected ways. On the anniversary of his wife's death, Ryan finally begins to deal with the loss of his wife. That loss begins to lead to new discoveries that he never expected nor anticipated.
Dir. Kiarra Goldberg | Women Filmmaker
Grace experiences a miscarriage after a first date leads to an accidental pregnancy. Fractal follows the story of her struggle across three different realities; memory, present-day, and a dream of what could have been. How do you mourn the loss of something that you never had?
Dir. Ian Planchon & Lynn Melling | Documentary
Freshwater is a documentary that dives into the cold waters of Lake Superior along Minnesota's North Shore. It contains 10% of Earth's freshwater, yet this massive force of nature remains largely unexplored. One group of people, however, is intimately aware of its power. From the surfers who catch its waves to the scientists who study its depths, learn why Lake Superior is a precious resource that should never be taken for granted.
1 hr 36 mins
Dir. Stephen Folker | Feature & Iowa
Eccentric inventor, Dr. Sigmund Allen believes he's created a machine which can make contact with Uranus.
Great Artist Dorm Challenge
Dir. Susanne Crane | Local
The Great Artist Dorm Challenge is a project involving several local and regional artists, a 1918 YWCA in Mason City, IA with old dormitories in need of rehabilitation, a budget of $1,000 per room and a timeframe of 7 days to complete the project. This is filmed with cell phones and a hand held camera on a gimbal. The film gives you an inside look into the process, the personalities and the difficulties in managing a group of very different characters with a tight budget and time constraints. This is a friendly, human interest, inspirational project and film with many moving parts.
How to Survive Your First Date
Dir. Reese Robers | Student
In this dark parody of 1950's instructional films, Dotty and her date Darryl try to survive against the voyeuristic narrator manipulating them.
Dir. Emilie Beck | Short
In public 12-year-old Martin seems like a normal smiling boy, but at home he faces uncertainty, and at times a harsh reality. With an alcoholic father, and a mother who barely 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.
Dir. Vivie Myrick | Student
Jen is a young girl in a dysfunctional family that is trying to make her way out of an abusive household. After getting into an elite private school, she meets Astro. A socially awkward, young boy who is able to quickly open up to her. Astro and his family opened Jen's eyes to what her life should look like.
Into Flight Once More
1 hr 9 mins
Dir. Adrienne Hall | Documentary
Into Flight Once More, narrated by Gary Sinise, brings the history of June 6, 1944 to the present through the lens of one squadron and their epic recreation journey across the North Atlantic to Normandy for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. Along the trip we meet some of the last remaining D-Day Veterans and younger generations of men and women who have re-charted their path to honor their sacrifice and thank them for their service.
Let Me Be Me
1 hr 15 mins
Dir. Dan Crane & Katie Taber | Documentary
When the Westphal family learned that their 6-year-old Kyle was on the Autism spectrum, they feared they might never develop a real connection to their child. Withdrawn and constantly wrapping himself in fabric and blankets, Kyle was retreating from the world around him. Determined to find a way to connect, his parents embarked on an intense and radical journey which involved compassionately joining Kyle in his unique behaviors. Twenty years later, the entire family looks back at Kyle's journey with candor and humor. Let Me Be Me reveals what happens when a boy who used fabric as his shield to hide himself grows up to become a fashion designer, forging connections with friends and family along the way.