The Iowa Independent Film Festival today announced the full slate of programming for this year’s edition of the film festival (September 16-18). With all programming offered free-to-the-public for the first time, and operating from its hub at the historic Park Inn Hotel in Mason City (15 W State Street), IIFF will be highlighted by rare personal appearances of beloved film couple Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss with screenings of two of their classic films, as well as a presentation of the latest in virtual reality (VR) storytelling courtesy of IIFF’s Co-Founder Tanna Frederick and celebrated directing veteran Randall Kleiser.
IIFF Co-Founder, Richard Schinnow, said, “This year’s edition of the film festival is a wonderful balance of classic Hollywood, local filmmakers and storytellers, and innovative virtual reality technology that is rapidly sweeping the country and entertaining audiences in exciting new ways. It is a rare treat to have Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss here in person, joining the other local filmmakers here in Mason City to discuss their work, talk movies and how they make them, and meet the film fans here in Iowa.”
Benjamin will attend the screening of his classic comedy, MY FAVORITE YEAR (1982), starring Mark-Lin Baker, Jessica Harper, and Peter O’Toole, about a young comedy writer’s struggles to keep his idol, an Errol Flynn-type silver screen star, from getting into trouble and possible ruining both the show and the young man’s career. Afterwards, Benjamin will talk about his experiences directing the film, as well as touch on highlights from his film career, including CATCH-22, GOODBYE, COLUMBUS, THE SUNSHINE BOYS, and WESTWORLD. Likewise, Prentiss will be on hand for a screening of her film, MAN’S FAVORITE SPORT (1964), about a famed outdoorsman expert and writer (Rock Hudson), who faces a crisis when he is entered in a fishing contest – since he has never actually done it before. Afterwards, Prentiss will talk about the film, as well as some of her other work onscreen, like WHERE THE BOYS ARE, WHAT’S NEW PUSSYCAT?, and THE STEPFORD WIVES.
Other feature film highlights from this year’s edition of the Iowa Independent Film Festival, are led by Garry McGee and Kelly Rundle’s documentary MOVIE STAR: THE SECRET LIVES OF JEAN SEBERG, about the Iowa native’s notorious career, beginning with a celebrated debut as Joan of Arc, to her work in the groundbreaking Jean Luc Godard film BREATHLESS, to LILITH, PAINT YOUR WAGON, etc. The film gives a personal, behind- the-scenes look at the woman, the actress, and political activist, who became not simply a household name, but a controversial public figure as well. Additional feature film highlights include three other documentaries: John Papola’s AT THE FORK, which takes a tough, uncompromising look at the ramifications of farming today, both practically and morally, Tracy-Louise Ward’s PIG BUSINESS, which takes a tough look at the pig farming industry and abuses therein, and Kaitlyn Busbee’s THE LEGEND IN MY HEART, which follows the journey and experiences of four American artists—two writers, a choreographer, and a composer—as they travel to Guangzhou, China, to utilize their art to work with and reach out to disabled and non-disabled people in that country.
Henry Jaglom’s latest work, OVATION, stars James Denton, Dey Young, and Frederick in an entertaining story of a theater actress fighting her attraction for a television actor she has been cast opposite, as they release for a new stage production. On the darker side, local filmmaker Stephen Folker’s THE ORANGE MAN, scares up a story of an orange salesman who goes on a horrific murder spree, dispatching his victims with a prosthetic hook and a bag of oranges.
Frederick and Randall Kleiser (GREASE, FLIGHT OF THE NAVIGATOR) will bring the world of virtual reality (VR) to the IIFF, courtesy of their latest project, “Defrost.” The story of a woman awakened after being cryogenically frozen for 30 years, only to meet her now aged family and discover intrigue that has occurred during her sleep, stars Frederick, as well as a dynamic veteran cast including, Bruce Davison, Harry Hamlin, Christopher Atkins, and Carl Weathers. The VR project, designed to be an innovative series of episodes telling the woman’s story, as well as solving the issues she has awakened to, will introduce Iowa film fans to the world of VR through synchronized presentations of the first episode of “Defrost,” as well as an in-depth discussion with the creators of the project, which was a hit at this year’s Sundance Film Fesival.
IIFF Co-Founder Frederick said, “VR is an exciting new way to tell stories and experience them as a film fan and viewer, opening up a world in which you are placed completely within the world of the story or experience you are viewing. Having a visionary artist like Randal Kleiser here in-person to talk about how we do it only adds to the excitement we have in bringing VR to Iowa for the very first time.”
For more information and details on the Iowa Independent Film Festival, including the complete schedule and description of all films and events, please go to http://www.iowaindie.org/index.php.
The 2016 Iowa Independent Film Festival programming descriptions:
AT THE FORK
Director: John Papola
Country: USA Running Time: 89 min.
Filmmaker and omnivore John Papola, together with his vegetarian wife Lisa, offer up a timely and refreshingly unbiased look at how farm animals are raised for our consumption. With unprecedented access to large-scale conventional farms, Papola asks the tough questions behind every hamburger, glass of milk, and baby-back rib. What he discovers are not heartless industrialists, but America's farmers…real people who, along with him, are grappling with the moral dimensions of farming animals for food.
JACK AND ANDI
Director: Gary Ewing
Country: USA, Running Time: 58 min.
Jack Scarrett has suffered a brain aneurysm and Angel Second Class Andi is assigned by God to look after him which proves to be a daunting chore. As Jack sinks deeper into depression and alcohol and every unorthodox strategy that Andi tries is a failure, God begins to question her ability to carry out the task.
THE LEGEND IN MY HEART
Director: Kaitlyn Busbee
Country: U.S.A., Running Time: 98min
THE LEGEND IN MY HEART follows four renowned American artists—two writers, a choreographer, and a composer—as they travel to Guangzhou, China, to engage disabled and non-disabled populations by collaborating and creating together. The film ends with a rousing performance of song, dance, and poetry.
MAN’S FAVORITE SPORT (1964)
Director: Howard Hawks
Country: U.S.A., Running Time: 120min
Roger Willoughby (Rock Hudson) is considered to be a leading expert on sports fishing. He's written books on the subject and is loved by his customers in the sporting goods department at Abercrombie and Fitch, where he works. There's only one problem however: he's never been fishing in his life. When the store owner enters him in a fishing contest, mayhem ensues.
MOVIE STAR: THE SECRET LIVES OF JEAN SEBERG (2014)
Directors: Garry McGee, Kelly Rundle Country: U.S.A., Running Time: 116min
MOVIE STAR: THE SECRET LIVES OF JEAN SEBERG is the first film to focus on the private side of the famous Marshalltown, Iowa native and film actress (BREATHLESS, LILITH, PAINT YOUR WAGON, AIRPORT). The documentary examines Seberg's very public American and international film career, civil rights-era activism, and her mysterious death in Paris.
MY FAVORITE YEAR (1982)
Director: Richard Benjamin
Country: U.S.A., Running Time: 92min
Fledgling comic Benjy Stone (Mark Linn-Baker) can't believe his luck when his childhood hero, the swashbuckling matinee idol Alan Swann (Peter O'Toole), gets booked to appear on the variety show he writes for. But when Swann arrives, he fails to live up to his silver screen image. Instead, he's a drunken womanizer who suffers from stage fright. Benjy is assigned to look after him before the show, and it's all he can do to keep his former idol from going completely off the rails.
THE ORANGE MAN (2015)
Director: Stephen Folker
Country: U.S.A., Running Time: 95min
In 1987 a disillusioned door to door orange salesman horrifically murders his first victim. Move forward 27 years and a land developer is buying an orange grove. He and his 3 friends plan a fishing trip to get his head around the pending transaction, unbeknownst to them, his estranged wife and her new boyfriend have also chosen the very same location for a break. The usual strange noises and unnerving situations ensue when they congregate at a secluded cabin, as The Orange Man eliminates them 1 by 1 with the aid of his prosthetic hook and a bag of oranges!
Director: Henry Jaglom
Country: U.S.A., Running Time: 102min
A passionate theater actress must follow her mind or heart when she falls for a slick television star.
PIG BUSINESS (2009)
Director: Tracy-Louise Ward
Country: U.S.A., Running Time: 76min
An investigative documentary into the corporate takeover of pig farming and the devastating impacts this is having on our environment, local communities, small farmers, human health and animal welfare.
VOICES FROM THE BADLANDS
Director: Seth McClelland
Country: USA, Running Time: 57 min.
In this beautiful and moving film, young men and women of the Lakota Sioux tribe near Wounded Knee, South Dakota speak of the difficulties and frustrations of living within a people and a tradition that were almost eliminated in the 19th century wars against American Indians.
Director: Jenna Lovik
Country: USA, Running Time: 35 min.
In this comedic homage to the horror films of the 1930's, a man is forced to hide a dark secret from the woman he falls in love with. The secret? He's ambidextrous.
Director: Mason Greer
Country: USA, Running Time: 12 min
"Depression is like a person where one is both the suffering prisoner and the cruel jailer." This unique student production includes a rap tune to convey the positive and negative energy in the story-telling.
Director: Cozette Russell
Country: USA, Running Time: 41min.
Luke and Catarina Mahoney are young, first-generation farmers living their dream of running a biologically diverse farm and organic dairy in New Hampshire, but hardship strikes when the lease on their land is not renewed and they are forced to seek new land in a new community.
DRIVING CHANGE IN THE DRIFTLESS AREA
Director: Chris Schneider
Country: USA Running Time: 15:38 min.
An advocate for alternative fuels for cars takes a one day road trip through the driftless area of northeast Iowa, along the way visiting friends and acquaintances who are involved with energy-saving projects which include land-fill produced bio gas and Wisconsin's first certified passive-energy house,
FIRE IN THE HOUSE
Director: Aaron Goddard
Country: USA Running Time: 10:58
When a scorned lover reveals to her best friend that she burned her celebrity boyfriend's house down, things get really real.
Director: Aaron Goddard
Country: USA, Running Time: 6 min.
In the wake of the apocalypse, two roadside entrepreneurs try to revive the American Dream as they see it.
LEARNING TO DRIVE
Director: Roderick E. Stevens Country: USA, Running Time: 28:20
Michael has always wanted to drive a car, but the problem is he has Down Syndrome. On a road trip to scatter their recently-deceased mother's ashes at the Grand Canyon, he is determined to convince his caring but clueless brother to teach him how to drive. Unfortunately, Red has found himself not only overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for Michael, but also by a sudden opportunity that has changed their travel plans. In a humorous turn of events, Michael proves his own resolve.
MACNIDER ART MUSEUM: 50 YEARS EYE-TO-EYE
Director: Paul Micich
Country: USA, Running Time: 15:14
It may be surprising that a town the size of Mason City, Iowa would have such a gem of an art museum as the MacNider, but this short film by an outstanding artist in his own right reveals why through a fifty-year story of community and art, expressed in the words of the members, students, teachers, docents and staff members who give it life.
PIERCE ARROW P.I.
Director: Gary Ewing
Country: USA, Running Time: 47 min
The Golden Age of radio featured shows with popular hard-boiled detectives like Phillip Marlowe and Sam Spade…and then there was Pierce Arrow.
Director: Greg Schmidt
Country: USA, Running Time: 20 min.
An appreciative look at the rivers of north Iowa which features clean-up efforts, canoeing, kayaking on Charles City's white water course, and river bank dining all set to original music by Paul Micich.
Director: Steve Kennevan
Country: USA, Running Time: 34:31
On one of Kevin's weekly visits to the Iowa Historical Society archives to make sense of his troubled life, he accidentally gets locked into the building at closing time. When he goes to the men's room, he hears a plaintive cry from the adjacent bathroom which leads to a contentious but humorous exchange with a young woman who has gotten herself uniquely stuck. After an evening of challenging banter loosened by alcohol, the two lost souls come to terms with life.
Director: Joshua Masson
Country: USA, Running Time: 10:38
The world's population dwindles from an epidemic, but there may be a cure. One couple hopes to be worthy of it.
Director: Randal Kleiser
Country: USA, Running Time: 10min
After being cryogenically frozen for 30 years, Joan Garrison awakens to meet her aged family. The VR series stars Tanna Frederick, Bruce Davison, Harry Hamlin, Christopher Atkins, and Carl Weathers.
Virtual Reality Movie Production
VR producers Randal Kleiser and Tanna Frederick discuss and demonstrate the cutting edge technology and story telling techniques they utilized in the production of their new series “Defrost.”