MUSCATINE — Filmmakers can rejoice as a local annual event makes its big return to the big screen.
From November 3-5, Muscatine will hold its 7th Annual Independent Film Festival, featuring what is expected to be a wide range of short films from multiple genres and, for the first time, music videos.
Open to both creators and cinephiles alike, the Muscatine Independent Film Festival (MIFF) once again acts as a way to celebrate film and musical achievement, according to festival founder Chad Bishop.
At present, 43 films have been submitted to the festival, although this number is expected to increase over the coming months as the final deadlines approach. When asked how it felt to bring the event back after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 concerns, Bishop said he was excited, adding that he found positives in taking such a long break.
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“I think the good part of it all is that coming back after two years kind of supercharged my motivation and gave me time to learn new skills and new relationships when it came to the theatrical side. things. My interest in lighting and theater has grown steadily,” said Bishop.
In addition to the new “Best Music Video” category, all entries of which will air between films with some of these music videos accompanied live, guests will also have the opportunity to enjoy the event’s new venue.
Taking advantage of the Muscatine Performing Arts Center, formerly Central Middle School’s auditorium, this year’s festival will display all entries on a 300-inch projection screen, allowing for a true theatrical experience as well as more space for guests can sit back and enjoy all the entries submitted.
“The most important thing at a film festival is the theatrical experience of the screen,” Bishop said. “Now that I’ve acquired a big enough screen, I’m 100% confident that visiting filmmakers will place this festival among all other premier venues in Iowa.”
Fans of the festival can also rest assured that several familiar MIFF categories will once again be featured at this year’s festival. This includes the Micro-Short category, which challenges filmmakers to think creatively by telling a story in less than four minutes, and the M&M (or Murder, Mayhem and More) category.
Local filmmakers will also be honored with the Best Local Film award and the Best Film Made in Iowa award. Although the event is meant to be a celebration of all participating filmmakers and independent filmmaking in general, Bishop was keen to acknowledge MIFF’s strong support for local and regional artists in hopes of motivating their creativity and providing them with a space to shine.
“I hope that this year’s screenings will proceed accordingly. …and hopefully (the visiting filmmakers) will spend the night downtown at the Merrill and spend some money locally. My big hope (for this event) is that it will help boost the local economy and get more people to experience Muscatine as an entertainment destination – to help us stay on the map and make people think about new people not just working here but maybe even living here,” Bishop said.
For more information on this year’s festival or to see photos and trailers from previous festivals, those interested can visit https://www.dreampostonline.com/miff. They can also find information about this year’s festival on the Muscatine Independent Film Festival Facebook page. The next submission deadline is August 31, but filmmakers will have until September 20 at the latest to submit their entries, and can do so at https://filmfreeway.com/MuscatineIndependentFilmFestival.