June 24 - 26, 2016 Western Gateway Park Friday & Saturday 11AM - 10PM I Sunday 11AM - 5PM

Interrobang Film Festival

The Interrobang Film Festival combines a traditional film production festival with a public screening. Films will be screened at various times throughout the three days of the Des Moines Arts Festival® on June 26–28, 2015 in downtown Des Moines.

Below is a list of films to be screened along with a synopsis. For the scehdule of films, please follow this link to our schedules page and click on Interrobang Film Festival.

The Exchange directed by Cam Be
Five high school students from Chicago’s south side travel to Kassel, Germany, for an art exhibition, documenta13, through an initiative called Passport Carriers in conjunction with artist Theater Gates.

Harvest directed by Paul Lacoste
South of France, mid-September. 20 men and women gather to harvest the good Lord’s grapes. During the harvest, the twenty grape-pickers will endure heatwaves, sticky hands, clipper-induced blisters, waged grape battles and experienced short-lived friendships. They will face the October storms and will have passionate discussions. Somehow, a kind of a utopic community will emerge…

Pease Code directed by Pedro Urrutia
Pedro Ruíz, a real estate agent who steals from houses he appraises. Wanting to become rich as soon as possible, hustles from work a new appraisal, Fernando del Rosario’s luxury mansion. But the night he gets inside, turns to be in the middle of a drug trafficking plan.

Mother Kuskokwim directed by John O’Keefe
This is a film about southwestern Alaska and the native Yupik people who live there. The region suffers from some of the worst rural poverty in the United States. This poverty is made worse by isolation, extreme temperatures in the winter, and the enormous cost of goods and services. Many of these people live without electricity or running water and rely heavily on subsistence fishing, hunting, and berry picking. All of this takes place in the context of a wild and largely intact tundra wilderness, which is currently threatened by planetary warming.

Gentle Giant directed by Gina Sealy
Born in 1934, Andre Rodgers grew up in the Bahamas, then a British colony. He played cricket and had never even seen a baseball game before 1954 when he tried out for the San Francisco Giants minor league farm system in Melbourne, Florida. Rodgers came from a country with a population of a mere 86,000 at the time, but he was a natural and was signed immediately.

Rodgers was a minor league superstar. Three years later he became the first Bahamian and the second Caribbean man, to play major league baseball.

De Pez En Cuando (Once Upon A Fish) directed by Francisco Valdez
De Pez En Cuando (loosely translated to English as Once Upon a Fish), is a situation comedy surrounding Ben, a young frustrated writer. That overwhelmed with his failures as a writer, decides to end it all by taking his life, only to be unknowingly interrupted by his neighbour who has come to ask him to please give a ride to his daughter to the University.

On The Road, Somewhere directed by Guillermo Zouain
After finishing high school teenagers Oliver, Moises, and Hemingway go on an emotive journey through the Dominican Republic in search of their life calling. What begins as a celebration of their friendship ends as a final farewell.

Of Minor Prophets directed by Joe Hubers
In the rural Midwest, a lonely, bachelor farmer befriends a sex worker whose intentions aren’t what they appear. Desire, deceit and doubt combine to create an explosive mix that forces both sides to discover just how far they’re willing to go to get what they want.

Nobody directed by William Bryan
A biographical story of Elvis Presley in high school in Memphis, 1953, featuring his tender relationship with his loving mother, his devoted teacher, and the senior year talent show that changed everything.

Jasper County Freedom Flight directed by Mike Kieler
In 2013 Jasper County, Iowa sent their third and final group of veterans to Washington D.C. to visit the memorials erected in their honor. All proceeds were raised by private donations from the people of Jasper County, Iowa.  The group of one hundred and forty two consisted of six World War Two veterans, thirty four Korean War veterans, seventy three Vietnam veterans and nineteen Vietnam Era veterans. There were three married couples and two sets of fathers and sons.

This is the story of their day.

The Syndrome directed by Meryl Goldsmith
Audrey Edmunds, mother of three, spent 11 years in prison for killing a baby she never harmed. And she is not alone. What happens when widely held beliefs based on junk science lead to the convictions of innocent people? The Syndrome is an explosive documentary following the crusade of a group of doctors, scientists, and legal scholars who have uncovered that “Shaken Baby Syndrome,” a child abuse theory responsible for hundreds of prosecutions each year in the US, is not scientifically valid.

The World's Largest Ball of Twine directed by Bryan Duggan
A quirky story about Francis Johnson, a Minnesota farmer, and creater of the original world’s largest ball of twine. Frank Stoeber of Cawker City, Kansas and Francis go head-to-head in a ‘Battle of the Balls’ for over a half a century. It’s a challenge that is not just about who has the biggest ball, but also about the values these balls represent to their communities. In the end, what neither man nor town knew was that a Texas Rancher, using plastic twine, would beat them both, taking the Guiness Book of Records Title for ‘The World's Largest Ball of Twine’. The documentary features never-before-seen home movies and rarely-seen TV and movie clips featuring Charles Kuralt, Chevy Chase and more, this documentary is both thoughtful and funny, leaving us with a nostalgia for an America gone by, and a sense that, somewhere along the way, we may have left behind some of the simpler values that made this country great.

WildLike directed by Frank Green
Mackenzie, a troubled but daring teenage girl, is sent to live with her uncle in Juneau, Alaska. She longs for her struggling, absent mother, but as her mom’s phone calls become less frequent and her uncle’s care is not what it seems, she must flee. Her only thoughts are to escape her uncle’s grasp and contact her mother somehow, but as she plunges deeper into the Alaskan interior she is suddenly helplessly alone. A chance connection with a loner backpacker, Rene Bartlett, proves to be her only lifeline. As Mackenzie shadows Bartlett across the last frontier, she thwarts his efforts to cut her loose until Bart has no choice but to help her survive in the wilderness. Against the backdrop of a spectacular Alaska landscape, they discover the redemptive power of friendship. Mackenzie and Bartlett prove to be the unlikely salve for each other’s scars, until the damage Mackenzie carries with her threatens to destroy her newfound sanctuary. Returning to civilization, Mackenzie is once again at risk of capture by her uncle as he hounds with manipulative calls and messages. When Bartlett finally discovers her alarming secret, he must make a bold choice to take real responsibility for Mackenzie and help her escape her traumatic past and return home.

American Cheerleader directed by David Barba & James Pellerito
Set in the competitive world of cheerleading, AMERICAN CHEERLEADER follows the journey of two high school teams vying for the coveted National High School Cheerleading Championship. Overcoming challenges through discipline, dedication and teamwork, twelve girls from New Jersey and twelve girls from Kentucky redefine what it means to be an American cheerleader.

Most Dangerous directed by Scott Strosahl
A couple heads out in their kayaks to work on their marriage, but soon find themselves the prey in a sadistic hunter’s game.

We Own The Knight: A High School Basketball Documentary Film directed by Eric Smidt
Woodward Academy is a residential facility for male, delinquent youth. So when their basketball team qualified for the Iowa High School Boys State Tournament for the first time in school history, the state media took note and they quickly became the ‘feel good’ story of the tournament.

Victory Dance directed by Max Moore
Victory Dance examines the life of Randy Miller, a 56 year old undergraduate student at the University of Iowa who has attended more Hawkeye Athletic events than anybody in recent years. The documentary questions what it means to be a sports fan and investigates how we handle our unfair hardships.

Lennis Moore: Woodcut Print Artist directed by Derek W Nelson
A documentary about more than an artist, reflecting on bygone farming days, rural landscapes, and inspirations, Lennis Moore lets us into his life and his truly Iowan persona: “It’s just a lot of hard work and you keep doing the craft and the more you do the better hopefully you become.” Filled with Lennis’ woodcut prints, archival photographs, and Iowa landscapes, this film is a departure into a beautiful life.

The Simple Gift of Walnut Grove directed by John Richard
The Simple Gift of Walnut Grove is a short film about the life of an early 20th century Danish immigrant named Hans Hansen, as told by his son, 96 year old Walter Hansen. Hans emigrated from Denmark to the United States in 1899 and built a farm out of the native timber he found alongside a marginal piece of land on the Cedar River near West Branch, Iowa. Within Walter’s soft-spoken historical narrative, emerge themes of masculinity and the dynamics of a father-son relationship forged under the harsh conditions of the early Midwestern settlement and the American immigrant experience.

Three Windows and a Hanging directed by Ray Meirovitz
In a traditional village in Kosova, a year after the war (2000) when people are rebuilding their lives, the female school teacher Lushe is driven by her inner conscience to give an interview to an international journalist, telling her that she and three other women from the village were raped by Serbian forces. When the news is published, the male villagers start being suspicious about their wives.

Foreigners directed by Matias Baeza
Alicia misses the bus that was supposed to drive her to Santiago and she has to wait in Valdivia. There she starts a trip that was out of her plan.

The Last Payphone on Earth directed by Alex Gibney
Sam’s broken phone has left him feeling isolated and alone, until he stumbles across an old pay phone.

Zugzwang directed by Yolanda Centeno
Zugzwang in German means obligation to move. Life and chess are not so different. There is a moment in life where you know you have to make a decision, but the best thing to do would be not to make any move. But... you must. We simply call this being screwed. In chess, they call it Zugzwang.

1-0  directed by Saman Hosseinpuor
The barber started cutting the boys hair while watching a football game on TV.

The Cat’s Cradle directed by David Spaltro
Jim and Amy are a young couple attempting to conceive. As these attempts become all-consuming in their lives, stress and tension build between them. A romantic evening turns into a night of confessions and betrayal that will forever change their relationship.

Safe Place directed by Wes Worthing
Awkward, street-smart, Camy, gives us her story and advice. Her last remarks resonate stronger than her first impression.

The Morning After directed by Shanra J. Kehl
The Morning After is a feature film that consists of 8 vignettes that are intercut throughout the film. Eight individuals wake up next to someone and need to decide if they should stay or if they should go.

Sons of Jacob Synagogue directed by Frances Soans and Robert Nemeyer
A poetic documentary about a small Jewish community in Iowa, documenting their history and struggles as a minority community. Weaving interviews, text, and striking imagery, the documentary creates a complex picture of the identity of a community and its deep emotional connection to place.

Nowhere People directed by Jordan Kuchera
In the desert state of Rajasthan, India, lives a community of people belonging nowhere. As a minority group living in Pakistan with threat of religious based persecution these ‘Pakistani-Hindus’ fled to India. Now settled in India, these refugees are denied basic human rights and citizenship due to their Pakistani origin. This film gives these ‘Nowhere People’ a chance for their voices to be heard.

Agnus Dei directed by Agim Sopi
A young man Peter, who is around thirties, lives a desperate life with his mother Maria and her husband Stojan in one village of Serbia. Peter is born in Kosova from a forbidden love between his mother Maria and the young Albanian man, but for this he is not aware is the period of time when the relations between Serbs and Albanians are inimical, exactly is the time of the beginning of war. Peter is forced by his mother and the others to go to the war. He intends to escape the war and goes to the West. He is mobilized forcefully in one paramilitary unit in Kosova’s war. In one action prepared as revenge, he kills his father Dini whom he never had the chance to meet. Being not able to bear the arbitrary crimes, Peter, deserts from the army. He takes Dini’s daughter Maria and together they escape to the mountains. During their dangerous trip they are followed from both sides of enemies, Serbs and Albanians. Peter and Maria fell in love. They reach to come back in Peter’s home in Serbia. As soon as they returned home, Peter realizes that he had killed his biologic father and he had fall in love with his sister. Not being able to stand this spiritual condition he commits a suicide.

The Harpist directed by Erica Thompson
The Harpist details an evening in the life of young and infamous Emmie Lucas, a world renowned harpist. From the outside, she seems to glitter like gold: fame, beauty, and talent.  Yet after her performance, isolation sets in. She reaches for connection only to get shot down, then wanders out alone and comes across a late night diner. There she finds unexpected connection with a single mom and child and gets pulled out of her own self-pity.  The story of ‘The Harpist’ pushes past the surface-level glamour of life, aiming toward the heart of life-changing human connection.

Recursion directed by Evan Kruse
Set in a frozen wasteland, two masked survivors helplessly pursue one another in the mutual struggle for oxygen. Recursion, itself a palindrome, portrays the resistance against a computer operating system which manipulates the temporal and physical laws of nature.

When Pigs Swim directed by Charles Allan Smith
How did the ‘Swimming Pigs of Exuma’ get there, where did they come from, and who put them there?

The Platinum Plan directed by Chris Pickenpaugh “An incident. A policy. A strange, seductive option...” The Platinum Plan is a unique dark comedy short film from writer/director/producer Chris Pickenpaugh.

The Emotional Dimensions of the James River directed by Michelle Marquez
This experimental film provides an emotional rollercoaster experience that was musically and visually designed based on a neuroscience research project that correlates a mathematical parameter (fractal dimension) of sounds and images with the selective triggering of emotional states.

Requiem for My Father directed by Quentin Perez
Through the maze of a nightmare, a young man faces his father. His trauma springs from the darkness and he gradually exorcises his bitterness.

Wrong Doing directed by Dominic Rabalais
The story of a creature being born from the pools of the unified field, falling in love, being killed, flying through the afterlife on the hood of convertible, being reborn and seeking revenge. Lots of knives, some fire, ‘lady and the tramp-ing’ french fries, and there’s no fourth wall.” Expect singing and dancing! Romance! Expect to laugh, to cry! Expect to not be sure just how you should feel!

Dostoevsky Behind Bars directed by Marc Kornblatt
When university students meet with prison inmates to discuss literature, there is no guarantee that they will redeem anyone’s soul. Still, a spirit of hope, if not grace, hovers in the air when the two groups come together.

Invisible… Looking for Tarkovsky directed by Maxim Mussel
My name is Maxim Mussel, I am from Moscow and I am 49 years old.  I am a film director recently I have made several films documentary and feature films on. I used Mark2 for that.  I tried myself in photo also. Last three years I realized that iPhone camera is suitable for my creative ideas.

342 iPhone directed by Aaron Rotenberg
An iPhone video diary documenting the filmmaker’s return to Toronto, moving houses, meeting friends, ending with a dance towards the future.

Sincerely, Us directed by Laura Birek
Jen was already having a tough time. But when burglars break into her apartment and steal her dog, Shanna will do anything to get her best friend back --- even if it means messing with the space-time continuum.

The Gully directed by John Gigrich
While trying to avoid detection, two young women search for a hidden cache of stolen money.

Tom in America directed by Flavio Alves
For 50 years, Michael and Betty have been united by one guiding principle: no secrets. But when a provocative Tom of Finland doll triggers Michael’s long-buried desires, Betty discovers that secrets have been part of their life all along. With long-held mysteries thrust into the open, the foundation of their marriage and the path of their golden years are suddenly rocked. Now, they must redefine their future, and decide if it is one their love can survive.

The Man Who Fed His Shadow directed by Mario Garefo
A man intrudes into rich people’s dinners claiming that he can collect the food from their table and feed his shadow which, curiously enough, is a female figure.

Light Study directed by Joesphine Massarella
Light Study is a poetic examination of the wetlands, forests, and ecosystems of the Niagara Escarpment, from the tip of the Bruce Peninsula to Niagara Falls. Filmed over a three year period, it explores the unique landscape of the Bruce Trail using 16mm single frame photography. Here, nature presides over an ephemeral human element, its primordial essence both medium and agent of light’s eternal change. Soundtrack composed by Graham Stewart, member of the experimental music collective Viosac.

Odd One Out directed by Christopher Rohde
Odd One Out is a sci-fi fantasy story told almost without dialogue that takes place in a surreal film-noir universe inhabited by faceless living mannequins. A paranoid military cabal looking for the ultimate war deterrent creates a mechanized colossus in an underground laboratory, but a mysterious organization of black-suited anarchists brainwash a hapless soldier into triggering the monster’s escape. This act of sabotage is only one part of a sinister plot that plunges the city into all-out civil war and leads to an apocalyptic final confrontation. Six years in the making, Odd One Out was filmed entirely with miniatures and practical effects, and features just four actors playing over seventy characters.

Ocean directed by Stephanie Maxwell
In this film, sunlight on moving water and bottom sand reveal the infinitely animated and ever-changing world of visual compositions and events that have a charged, emotive power when presented as distinct variations and themes interwoven with the musical score.

A Beautiful View of Nothing directed by Blake Labriola
Moses Beal lives in a world with a limited timeline. When his friends, family, and co-workers all start to literally disappear, he is left questioning the purpose of spending the remainder of his days alone.

A Beautiful View of Nothing is a zero budget short film shot over four weekends in Beloit, WI, Joliet, IL, Rockford, IL, and Peotone, IL. Everyone involved donated their time and talents to make this short film a reality, for which we the producers are eternally grateful.

Mousse directed by John Hellberg
What could be easier than robbing a small bookie place on the outskirts of town? It’s during the year’s biggest horse race event and the betting center Washington’s Tobacco looks like the ultimate hit for some fast cash. Mousse is a man of pride and principles and is fed up with living as a second-class citizen. But what happens when he faces principles different to his own?

Special thanks to the following organizations for their support of the Interrobang Film Festival

Film submissions for the 2015 Interrobang Film Festival are now being accepted. Public screenings of films to be screened will take place at the Des Moines Arts Festival® on June 26–28, 2015, in downtown Des Moines' Western Gateway Park. Categories for entry in the competition include Feature, Mids, Shorts, Short Shorts, Documentary and Free Form. Entrants will have the option of applying in either the Professional or Student Competition. Feature films must be from 60-140 minutes in length, mids are films between 15-60 minutes long, shorts must not exceed 15 minutes in length, and short shorts can not exceed one minute in length.

Submissions will be reviewed by a panel of local jurors, and awards will be determined based on a Best of category system. Cash prizes will be awarded in various categories. Jurors will also award an Iowa Filmmaker Award to a production company or department that is a resident of the state of Iowa. Guests will have the opportunity to view submitted films at various times throughout the three days of the Festival.

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