Film enthusiasts enjoy local and international works at festival

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CLEAR LAKE, Iowa (KTTC) – Iowa Independent Film Festival concluded Saturday night across three venues in northern Iowa.

The 52 films shown were selected from over 170 submissions.

Started in 2007, the Iowa Independent Film Festival began in Mason City and has now grown to include Clear Lake.

“Film is becoming more popular in this area. Iowa is great place to make film. There’s been some beautiful documentaries,” said Leslie Nelson, board member for the Iowa International Film Festival.

Local filmmakers were spotlighted on Thursday, but audiences have enjoyed a full weekend of film.

“The opportunity to meet and talk with filmmakers and to hear the story behind the story and they also get to see a lot landmarks they’ve heard about. A lot of our films are Iowa created,” Nelson said.

Not just local films, the festival features work from around the world. The film “Black Flowers” was made by a BBC New Director Award winner from London.

“I sort of just did a Google search. I looked for festivals which were not ginormous festivals,” said filmmaker Martin Gooch, who has been to the festival three times. “When you go to Cannes Film Festival or Toronto, there are thousands of people and most of the time you can’t even get in to see any films. So I thought let’s come to a festival in a smaller town where people are interested in what you’re doing.”

He says that aspiring filmmakers have to be persistent and willing to fill out a lot of paperwork.

“You got to go the festivals, you got to meet the producers, you got to create pitch documents and go to companies and say ‘I want to make this’. They’re going to say no 100 times but on the 101st time, they might say yes.” Gooch said.

While they might not be box office hits yet, the festival’s films spanned a wide range of genres for a variety of interests.

“Indie film is where you see creativity,” said Gooch. “All our great directors were indie directors first.”

“They’re excellent films. You never know when you’re an indie filmmaker whether you’re going to get that film in distribution or not,” Nelson said. “You don’t know if it’s even going to show up on Netflix. But one thing’s for sure, if it’s good, it’s going to show up right here.”

Martin Gooch’s film will be available on most platforms at the end of this year and interested filmmakers can submit their work to the festival starting in November.

Alex Tejada

Alex Tejada

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