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interrobang film festival

The Interrobang Film Festival celebrates the art of film and is presented in concert with the Des Moines Arts Festival. The audience, whether cinema enthusiasts or curious newcomers, can experience curated screenings from films around the globe.

The Interrobang Film Festival is a three-day IMDb-verified Festival. It is a juried show, including public showings and panel discussions. Filmmaker submissions are accepted in every category and is juried by a panel of peers. The Festival screens an average of 40 films per year.

The 2023 Interrobang Film Festival will be June 23 - 25. It is held at east end of the Festival inside the (air-conditioned) Des Moines Central Library. Submissions for the 2023 festival are being accepted on Film Freeway.

What is "Interrobang"?
a non-standard punctuation mark (‽) indicating a question expressed in an exclamatory manner, as in "what are you doing?!"

2023 Timeline

We are accepting submissions on Film Freeway.

December 31, 2022: Early Bird Deadline
February 12, 2023: Regular Deadline
March 12, 2023: Late Deadline
April 2, 2023: Extended AND Final Deadline
May 12, 2023: Notification Date
June 23-25, 2023: Interrobang Film Festival
Award Winners Announced at the Festival on Sunday, June 25 at 1 p.m.

For additional information, please contact Daphne at ddickens@desmoinesartsfestival.org.

2022 Award Winners

Congratulations to the 2022 Award Winners
Best Feature Documentary: "Jimmy in Saigon"
Best Student Film: "Custard"
Best Short Narrative: "SPECTRUM"
Best Short Documentary: "Raise Your Voice"
Best Feature Narrative: "Hideout"
Best of Iowa: "Bed Bugs"
Best of Show: "SPECTRUM"
Producer's Choice: "Bitter Pill"

Special thanks to Produce Iowa and DMACC Video Production Program for hosting our panels this year.

Jimmy in Saigon

2022 Best Feature Documentary
Showtime: Friday, Feature Film 3 - 4:16 pm
Director: Peter McDowell
Producers: Peter McDowell, Dan Savage (Exec. Producer), Lucia Palmarini, and Peter Schulman
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 1:29:16
Synopsis: Jimmy in Saigon explores the mysterious life and death of Jimmy McDowell, a 24-year-old Vietnam veteran who died as a civilian in Saigon. Director Peter McDowell uncovers family secrets surrounding Jimmy’s drug use and sexuality, getting to know his brother who died when Peter was only five years old.


2022 Best Student Film
Showtime: Saturday, Student Films Section 2 - 3:00 pm (Film 2 of 4)
Student Film
Director & Producer: Arsen Chobanyan
Country of Origin: Russian Federation
Running Time: 0:11:30
Synopsis: An ordinary kitchen conversation develops into an existential drama that will forever change the lives of its participants.


2022 Best Short Narrative // 2022 Best of Show
Showtime: Friday, Short Films Section 2 - 3:47 pm (Film 2 of 2)
Student Film
Directors: Thiago Rosestolato and Raul Paiva Mello
Producer: Thiago Rosestolato
Country of Origin: Brazil
Running Time: 0:19:36
Synopsis: Fábio, a 12-year-old boy, discovers a wishing well in a forest near his house and, from it, starts a series of mysterious encounters with his father, who died years ago.

Raise Your Voice

2022 Best Short Documentary
Showtime: Sunday, Short Films Section 4 - 2:35 pm (Film 4 of 5)
Director and Producer: Maribeth Romslo
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 0:44:06
Synopsis: Raise Your Voice follows the student journalists at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School navigating their school mass shooting as both survivors and journalists. The documentary explores youth free speech history in America (through the story of Mary Beth Tinker of Tinker v. Des Moines) connecting the Parkland students to a broader story about young voices and their power through social movements.


2022 Best Feature Narrative
Showtime: Saturday, Feature Film 5 - 4:55 pm
Director: Yen Kuang Chen
Producers: Yen Kuang Chen, Jerry Hsin, and Vincent Lee
Country of Origin: Taiwan
Running Time: 1:58:00
Synopsis: Drug dealer Guo-hao hopes to make big money by an unknown cocaine deal so that he and his girlfriend can leave their life of crime behind. But he soon realized that the whole thing is not that simple.

Bed Bugs

2022 Best of Iowa
Showtime: Saturday, Student Films Section 2 - 3:00 pm (Film 3 of 4)
Student Film
Director & Producer: Kaitlyn T. Busbee
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 0:09:11
Synopsis: A young woman confronts her trauma by dealing with the only thing she has power over: her mattress.

Bitter Pill

2022 Producer's Choice
Showtime: Friday, Music Videos Section 1 - 2:21 pm (Video 2 of 2)
Director and Producer: Camron Rushin
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 0:02:59
Synopsis: Shot completely on a doorbell cam, "Bitter Pill" is a snapshot of the anxiety of the times. For the past six years, the country has suffered at the hands of a malignant narcissist to then be followed by a pandemic. The song "Bitter Pill" is about all my current anxieties and the video encompasses this while encroaching on everyone's last bit of refuge, their homes.

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