The Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival is all about Iowa connections on-screen and behind the scenes. And Fourth Wall Films, based in Moline, Ill., is all about preserving the Midwest's "forgotten" history.
Fourth Wall Films filmmaker Kelly Rundle is thrilled the two are again intersecting, with screenings of "River to River: Iowa's Forgotten Highway 6" (Friday, April 1 at 7:50pm, Saturday at 2:50pm) and "Movie Star: The Secret Lives of Jean Seberg" (Friday at 6:30pm and Saturday at 1:30pm) making the cut for this year's film festival.
The event, founded in 2001, runs Friday and Saturday (April 1 and 2) at Collins Road Theatres in Marion. The 63 selected films - ranging from 2 minutes to 2 hours - include a mix of features, shorts, documentaries, music videos and experimental films from students, amateurs and professionals. They compete for gold and silver Eddy awards, audience choice and Iowa connection awards.
Emmy-nominated "Movie Star" Producers/Directors Garry McGee and Kelly Rundle interviewing film historian Rich Ness.
Fourth Wall's Seberg documentary is a direct result of networking at a film festival. Garry McGee of Elma, who had conducted a bevy of interviews with the late actress' family and friends, called the Rundles in Los Angeles after reading about Midwest screenings of their Villisca film. The conversation picked back up after the Rundles moved back to the Midwest in 2007 and ran into McGee at a Mason City film festival.
"We're always looking for Midwestern stories that have a local or regional following but deserve a much wider audience or awareness," Rundle said. "This was obviously one of those stories."
"Movie Star" is a tale of Hollywood and heartbreak, beginning when an unknown 17-year-old Iowa girl beat out 18,000 actresses to play St. Joan in Otto Preminger's 1957 film. The documentary goes behind the scenes of her rocky life in the international film spotlight, her civil rights activism that drew FBI attention, and her mysterious death in Paris in 1979 - deemed a "probable suicide." "That leaves room for doubt," Rundle said.
The Highway 6 documentary, making its first film festival appearance, travels a more nostalgic route across Iowa. Taking on the form of a classic car cruise from Davenport to Council Bluffs, it looks at the towns and stories along this forgotten stretch of highway that weaves under and over Interstate 80 in places.
Kelly & Tammy Rundle's documentary "River to River: Iowa's Forgotten Highway 6" will also show at the film festival.
Rundle hopes the film inspires viewers to take their own weekend jaunt along the route, to discover hidden gems like Ladora, home to the secret writer of the "Nancy Drew" mysteries, or Dexter, site of a Bonnie and Clyde shootout.
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TICKETS: Advance: $8 per session (Friday evening, Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, Saturday evening) or $25 all-event pass; day of shows: $10 per session, $35 all-event pass; theater box office or Crifm.org/ticketinfo.html
"Movie Star: The Secret Lives of Jean Seberg" producers Garry McGee of McMarr, Ltd, and Kelly Rundle and Tammy Rundle of Fourth Wall Films will attend the Cedar Rapids Film Festival April 1-2.