Iowa Independent Film Festival

This Year’s Films

Synopses of Selected 2013 Films


Garner, Iowa (Previously The Farm) When her grandfather suffers a heart attack, Kathy returns to her Iowa childhood farm where she must confront her abandoned daughter as well as her own past. Based on a screenplay by Richard Schinnow and filmed in Garner and Forest City and rural locations in 2012, it features Tanna Frederick, Tom Bowers, Joel West, Rylie Behr and local actor Kathleen Douglas. Directed and edited by Ron Vignone. Fri. at 7:30 in Ballroom.

Vacationland (100 min.) Karen Blackís last feature film. The only people who donít get the cancellation notice show up at a remote piece of land for a family reunion. Also features Ivy Girdwood, Sarah Paul Ocampo, Peter Pentz. Produced and directed by Jaime Hook. Some profanity. Sat. at 4 in Markley, Sun. at 5 in Blythe.

After Life (100 min.) A cynical young woman learns to deceive people into believing she can speak to their dead loved ones. But when she meets Garrett, whose wife has been missing and presumed dead for 20 years, she finds herself in a family drama which will change her life. Stars Gretchen Joy, Michael Learned, Liza Weil, Daniel Roebuck and Gary Kroeger. Sat. at 4 in the Ballroom.

The Breakfast Club (97 min.) Five high school students - a Brain, an Athlete, a Basket Case, a Princess, and a Criminal - with nothing in common are sentenced to a long Saturday detention together. By the end of the day, they share their fears, secrets, and deepest emotions. Sat. at 6 in Ballroom.

Route 30, Too (87 min.) Another portion of lite fare from John Putch who previously sent us, you guessed it, Route 30. Ghosts and aliens duke it out in the good-ole boy ambience of south central Pennsylvania. Written and directed by Mr. Putch. Sat. at 2 in Blythe, Sun. at 5 in Markley.

The Dark Backward (97 min.) In a desolate world, encouraged by his friend, a garbage man pursues stand-up comedy...even though he stinks at it. Sun. at 1 in Blythe.


Matanza (23 min) A camping trip starts out happily enough for a group of New Mexico college kids, but a shadow falls across the idyllic setting in the form of two outsiders invited at the last minute, and a powerful undertow of manipulation and cruelty threatens to drag the weekend into nightmarish depths. Written by Morse Bicknell, produced by Courtney Bell and Rachel Hroncich, and directed by Gregory Wagrowski. Considerable profanity. Fri. at 1 in Ballroom, Sat. at 6 in Markley.

Right Regrets (35 min.) Former Mason Cityan and veteran TV show director Ralph Senensky directs, at ninety, this ďmatureĒ romance set on the west coast. The film depicts the allure of romance that can exist into our sixties and beyond, but also the difficulties of falling in love at any age. Features Marlyn Mason who also produced. Fri. at 3 in Ballroom, Sun. at 3 in Ballroom.

The Flower (10 min.) A man realizes his first anniversary is quickly approaching, but heís broke so he has few options for a gift. When he canít afford the flower he wants, the florist takes pity on him and gives him a seed. Will his love be enough to make it grow? Written by Mike McNally, Aaron and Molly Zavitz. Directed by Mike McNally. Fri. at 3 in Ballroom, Sun. at 1 in Markley.

Danny from North Korea (35 min.) Follows the dangerous journey of a young North Korean man as he escapes a life of indoctrination, public executions and starvation and flees, first to China, then eventually to the U.S. where he resettles. Fri. at 3 in Ballroom, Sat. at 6 in Blythe.

Sincerely (22 min.) Daisy Heathrow finds solace for her loneliness through her mail man, Herald, only to have him suddenly disappear. A film about loneliness, insecurity, and the good in some people. Written by Elisabeth Von Leon and directed by Thomas Zoeschg. Fri. at 3 in Markley, Sun. at 3 in Blythe.

S.T.U.F.F.E.D. (8 min.) As part of the 48 Hour Film Project in Des Moines, this film was written, shot, edited, and scored in just 48 hours. A bumbling relationship coach uses innovative and controversial techniques to lead his clients to enlightenment and muscle cramps in the bedroom. Written by Gabriel Rowold, Kerry Neff, Tosh Dillinger, Shane Kos, Micheal Davenport, Greg Frieden. Produced and directed by Gabriel Rowold. Sat. at 4 in Blythe, Sun. at 3 in Markley.

A Lasting Impression (17 min.) Susanna, a young woman, visits her father, Farley, in prison after accusing him of child molestation twenty years before. Features Tanna Frederick, directed by Jack Heller, produced by Thomas Zoeschg. Sat. at 4-6 in Ballroom, Sun. at 1-3 in Markley.


American Darling (76 min.) A documentary about J.N. ďDingĒ Darling who won two Pulitzer prizes for his editorial cartoons for the Des Moines Register, and also became an influential national figure in the effort to preserve our natural environment. Fri. at 3 in Markley, Sat. at 4 in Blythe.

The Economics of Happiness (90 min.) This film offers the point-of-view that globalization has worsened almost every problem we face from fundamentalism and ethnic conflict to financial instability and unemployment, and offers an alternative based on the economics of localization which offers hope of a better world. Fri. at 1 in Ballroom, Sat. at 2 in Markley.

The Ioway 2 (55 min.) Kelly and Tammy Rundlesí second part of their beautiful documentary on the tribe that gave our state its name. Covering the period from the 1830ís to the 1970ís, the film depicts the difficulties the tribe encounters as white settlement encroaches on its lands and forces it from the territory that now bears its name. Sat. 2 in Ballroom, Sun. at 3 in Markley.

Invisible Threads (86 min.) Filmmaker Gary Ewing follows the nationally acclaimed Mason City High School Concert Choir on a ten month journey that culminates in their award winning 2013 performance in Carnegie Hall. Produced by David Beck and written and directed by Gary Ewing. Fri. at 5 in Ballroom, Sun. at 5 in Ballroom.

Tales From the Organ Trade (82 min.) An unflinching descent into the shadowy world of black-market organ trafficking: the street-level brokers, the rogue surgeons, the impoverished men and women who are willing to sacrifice a slice of their body for a quick payday, and the desperate patients who face the agonizing choice of obeying the law or saving their lives. Written and directed by Ric Esther Bienstock.Sat. at 6 in Markley, Sun. at 3 in Blythe.

Symphony of the Soil (104 min.) An artistic exploration of the miraculous material we call soil which helps us understand the complex and dynamic nature of this precious resource. Filmed on four continents with esteemed scientists and working farmers and ranchers. Sponsored by Niman Ranch and introduced by Paul Willis. Directed by Deborah Koons. Fri. at 5 in Markley.


The Kodachrome Project (13 min.) The story of how two professors and five students from Webster University came to possess and shoot the last existing rolls of Kodachrome film which had been kept in a freezer for almost 30 years. Would this film which had been outdated for decades still work, and what were the implications for them, as photographers? Directed by Jerod Welker. Fri. at 5 in Ballroom, Sat. at 2 in Markley.

Carol Tilley, Comic Book Crusader (22 min.) In the 1950ís Dr. Frederick Wertham led a movement to abolish comic books in the U.S, an effort which included comic book burnings in cities like Mason City. Carol Tilley from the University of Illinois came to the rescue, debunking Wertham and his fabricated data, and helping to restore comic books to the lives of Americaís youth. Hurray! Produced by Tim Hartin and Alison Davis Wood. Sat. at 2 in Blythe, Sun. at 5 in Ballroom.


The Road Back (33 min.) This well-made film was produced by students at a Maine high school to illuminate the emotional difficulties encountered by many young people and the importance of responsible adults in helping them to cope. Stars Natalie Johnson and Josh Devou. Written and directed by Faith Bishop. Fri. at 1 in Markley, Sat. at 2 in Ballroom.

Reprobation (13 min.) Kaufman is a young man whose religious parents have set a faith-based course for his life. Does he abide by their wishes or determine his own path into the future? Written and directed by Ryan Allsop. Sat. at 2 in Ballroom, Sun. at 1 in Markley.

It Don't Come Easy (17 min.) A young woman who is a wallflower is mysteriously bestowed with the ability to influence the thoughts of another. When a young man enters her life, her every wish is his, too. Utopia? Maybe...maybe not. Written by Sabrina Jaglom and Victoria Foyt and directed by NYU student Sabrina Jaglom. Sat. at 6 in Blythe, Sun. at 1 in Markley.


The Mason City Centennial Movie (60 min.) This film was made in the early 1950ís to commemorate Mason Cityís first hundred years. Now, 60 years later, itís interesting to see how the city looked then. Fri. at 1 in Markley, Sun. at 3 in Ballroom.

River Riders (approx. 30 min.) A preview peek at the film about local rivers that Greg Schmidt has been working on the past two years. An interesting look at the recreational opportunities they provide as well as a cautionary about the necessity for keeping them healthy. Sun. at 5 in Markley.

Karen Black Tribute Film (8 min.) A compilation of clips from Karenís long career in films. Sat. at 4 in Markley.

Henry Jaglom Tribute Film (8 min.) A compendium of samples of Jaglomís films by Dan Kremer. Sun. at 1 in Blythe, Sun. at 5 in Blythe.

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