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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 part juried competition, part public screen and part workshops. Filmmaker submissions are accepted in every category and is juried by a panel of peers. The Festival screens an average of 50 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. Applications for the 2023 festival will launch this fall on Film Freeway.

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

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"

Friday, June 24

Don't Panic

Student Film
Showtime: Friday, Student Films Section 1 - 11:00 am (Film 1 of 3)
Director and Producer: Kenadie Larson
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 0:05:13
Synopsis: A girl struggles to overcome her anxiety. When she begins to overthink, her reality takes a turn.


Public Space

Student Film
Showtime: Friday, Student Films Section 1 - 11:00 am (Film 2 of 3)
Director & Producer: Eli Bernstein
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 0:23:19
Synopsis: In Public Space, occupied territory in the United States is explored via the history of Seattle and the development of its scenic parks system. Through the tension of urban history and the parks' contemporary inhabitants, the landscapes of past and present come crashing together to reveal a stunning erasure of indigenous presence.

Jim's Tips

Student Film
Showtime: Friday, Student Films Section 1 - 11:00 am (Film 3 of 3)
Director: Piper Peña Hadley
Producer: Anna Butcher
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 0:09:33
Synopsis: Transgender teen Flora struggles to cope with her father's death and the series of how-to videos he's left behind.

The Collins Story: Steps to the Moon

Showtime: Friday, Feature Film 1 - 11:40 am
Director: Eric Dean Freese
Producer: Annette Juergens Busbee and the Arthur A. Collins Legacy Association
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 1:12:10
Synopsis: In the days before personal computers, before the Internet and the worldwide web connected us to global information, before smartphones connected us to one another, before GPS guided our journeys…Before this technology was a part of everyday life, American astronauts explored new frontiers in space and on the moon. A half-century ago, men on board the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space capsules talked to earth, navigated in space and to the moon and back, and exchanged critical data with mission control. How was this accomplished five decades ago? By the ingenuity and dedication of a company founded in the heartland of America – The Collins Radio Company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Steps to the Moon follows the journey of young Arthur Collins, and how his passion for communication technology, led the growth of his company from a modest home-based operation, into a major supplier for the US military, and an essential contributor to the success of the American space program. Learn about the people who designed the space communication systems and how these systems were unprecedented technical feats that played a crucial role in America’s race to be the first to land a man on the moon.


Got Your Back

Showtime: Friday, Short Films Section 1 -12:55 pm (Film 1 of 2)
Director: Mitch Hudson
Producer: Darce Cruea
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 0:17:50
Synopsis: In the 1960s, a group of high school buddies decide to climb their local water tower... Based on a true memoir, and produced in loving memory of Steve Cruea and Jim "Turd" Swanson.


Labor of Love

Showtime: Friday, Short Films Section 1 - 12:55 pm (Film 2 of 2)
Director and Producer: Hannah Rosalie Wright
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 0:08:40
Synopsis: Teresa navigates feelings of isolation in the early stages of a quiet grief.

Left of the Dial

Showtime: Friday, Web/TV 1 - 1:21 pm
Director: Andrew Lawton
Producer: Nick Markovich
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 0:49:45
Synopsis: When a "War of the Worlds"-style on-air stunt goes wrong, a disgraced radio hotshot is forced to leave Los Angeles and move back home to try and resurrect her career at the station that groomed her in the small town that resents her.




Doll Parts

Showtime: Friday, Found Footage 1 - 2:11 pm
Director: Michael LaRocco
Producer: Michael LaRocco and Loretta Stern
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 0:10:37
Synopsis: A car accident is told from the perspective of a doll.



A Feast That Never Comes

Showtime: Friday, Music Videos Section 1 - 2:21 pm (Video 1 of 2)
Director: Maria Juranic
Producers: Rachel Morgan, Maria Juranic, and Sven Britt
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 0:06:22
Synopsis: Four characters inhabit cycles within cycles of contentment, discontentment, inertia, movement, desire, and betrayal. A story emerges—told through the marriage of music (Ex-Fiancée) and dance (ChrisMastersDance)—functioning as a set of nesting dolls, inviting you to uncover as many layers as you wish.


Bitter Pill

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.



Livestock on the Land

Showtime: Friday, Feature Film 2 - 2:30 pm
Director and Producer: Nick Ohde
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 1:17:31
Synopsis: In broad-brush, Livestock on the Land is a story about regenerative grazing and its promise for the Iowa landscape. Up close, however, it’s a story about people – the farmers driven by love of family, land and livestock to seek more resilient solutions, and the community that emerges when livestock are on the land. The film goes beyond the science to show how livestock are central threads connecting people, diversifying farms, protecting soil and water, and anchoring rural communities.

Almost a Masterpiece

Showtime: Friday, Short Films Section 2 - 3:47 pm (Film 1 of 2)
Director & Producer: Robert Belinoff
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 0:09:22
Synopsis: An older film maker swings for the fences with his last production. He can see it! He can feel it! He can almost taste it! But can he make it?




Spectrum

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.


Jimmy in Saigon

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.

Saturday, June 25

The Last Minute Till Midnight

Showtime: Saturday, Short Films Section 3 - 11:00 am (Film 1 of 4)
Director: Adam Orton
Producer: Beau Batterson
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 0:19:43
Synopsis: As the Doomsday Clock ticks closer to midnight, a tenacious journalist’s obsession to expose a corrupt politician will put her at odds with forces she never imagined.

Pre-Existing

Showtime: Saturday, Short Films Section 3 - 11:00 am (Film 2 of 4)
Director: Kevin Isaacson
Producers: Kevin Isaacson and Michael Godfrey
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 0:09:07
Synopsis: A concerned husband seeks to buy a life insurance policy for his wife, but her current condition is making it very difficult.


Wolf + Lamb

Showtime: Saturday, Short Films Section 3 - 11:00 am (Film 3 of 4)
Director: Giuseppe Schettino
Producer: Anna Paolini
Country of Origin: Italy
Running Time: 0:14:59
Synopsis: Wolf + Lamb (Lupo + Agnello) is above all a "coming-of-age novel", based on the immortal and homonymous fable of Aesop. It is the story of the relationship Luca (Ladislao Liverani), Thomas (James Ferrara), and Elisa (Virginia Diop) entertain one another and behaviors such as bullying and the search for identity. Unbeknownst to them, are guided by a mysterious professor (Lino Guanciale) of anthropology, and his blonde assistant, in this "Bildungsjourney" between ancient masks, religious festivals, and archaic rituals that will inevitably lead our protagonists to confront each other and understand that wearing a mask is not enough to be what you want to be, but above all, every choice has consequences and responsibilities. With an unexpected ending and absolutely open to any further development.


Flyover

Showtime: Saturday, Short Films Section 3 - 11:00 am (Film 4 of 4)
Director: Brian White
Producers: Brian White, Anthony Lucido, and Eric Colonna
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 0:10:58
Synopsis: A day in the life of a modern Midwestern community as a farmhand hunts for the cow he scared away.

Boblo Boats: A Detroit Ferry Tale

Showtime: Saturday, Feature Film 4 - 11:55 am
Director: Aaron Schillinger
Producers: Steve Bannatyne, and Isabel Sandoval
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 1:18:44
Synopsis: When Ste. Claire and SS Columbia sounded their whistles, every Detroit kid knew it heralded the coming of summer and they would once again feel the magic of ferrying over to nearby Boblo Island Amusement Park where dreams come true. 85 years later, these two sister steamships – the oldest in America - awaken from a deep slumber to find a devoted team of enthusiasts have set out to rescue them from their deteriorating state. Martha Reeves, the Motown legend with a lilting voice, narrates this revelatory fable-doc that’s full of heart and hard truths about a challenging restoration, the iconic amusement park’s exciting yet whitewashed history, and the intoxicating ways that nostalgia can inspire and blur memories.



Devil's in the Details

Showtime: Saturday, Student Films Section 2 - 3:00 pm (Film 1 of 4)
Student Film
Director and Producer: Anna Owenson
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 0:04:14
Synopsis: A witch gets less than she bargains for when she tries to summon Satan on her ex-boyfriend. An occult comedy.


Custard

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.



Bed Bugs

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.



Chaos

Showtime: Saturday, Student Films Section 2 - 3:00 pm (Film 4 of 4)
Directors: Hana Mekacher and Julien Porras
Producer: Marion Tryant
Country of Origin: France
Running Time: 0:13:16
Synopsis: Zineb is ready to do anything to impose herself in the world of the night and to obtain the recognition of her crew, but it is without counting on the unexpected events and the self-destructive tendencies of her best friend and DJ Clara.



Lullaby to my Father

Showtime: Saturday, Found Footage 2 - 3:40 pm
Director and Producer: Michael LaRocco
Country of Origin: Unites States
Running Time: 0:05:19
Synopsis: A filmmaker pieces together fragments of his father’s military service during the Vietnam War in order to explain his absence.



A Place to Grow

Showtime: Saturday, Documentary Short Film 2 - 3:45 pm
Director: Maribeth Romslo
Producers: Maribeth Romslo and Liz Lidgett
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 0:05:19
Synopsis: In the summer of 2019, innovation artist Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya collaborated with youth from the Boys & Girls Club of Central Iowa to create a vibrant community mural. Drawing on creative exercises with the students, Amanda designed a mural that conveys the students' desire to grow and thrive. The students took part in painting the mural that overlooks a basketball court and playground at a new Boys & Girls Club in Des Moines, Iowa.




Hideout

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.

Sunday, June 26

David Lindmer feat. Johanson // Omen

Showtime: Sunday, Music Videos Section 2 - 11:00 am (Video 1 of 2)
Director: DRUST
Producer: Barney Gee
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Running Time: 0:04:54
Synopsis: The starting point for the Omen video was to explore the theme of ‘doomed relationships’ and witness the nuanced moments where things take a wrong turn.
So we meet Rueben, a troubled kid and ex-psychiatric patient who falls for his doctor. She should know better than to act on her feelings, but doesn't and leads him on an adventure into the unknown. Sex, drugs, first love, and finally heartache, when he realizes that she’s having a relationship with a colleague.
And that's where we pick up the story, as Ruben sets off to find them in a club and confront them both with the truth. This journey from the club doors to the stand-off on the dance floor is the framework on which all his memories hang. From their first glances across the canteen until the end, standing alone in the rain.


Life's Been Good To Me

Showtime: Sunday, Music Videos Section 2 - 11:00 am (Video 2 of 2)
Director & Producer: Jake Armstrong
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 0:03:42
Synopsis: Follow Yellow Days (Columbia Records) and Ric Wilson as they dance around London to their newest single "Life's Been Good To Me"


We Burn Like This

Showtime: Sunday, Feature Film 6 - 11:10 am
Director: Alana Waksman
Producers: Neda Armian, Eleanor Nett, Alana Waksman, Marshall Granger, and Jeri Rafter
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 1:21:00
Synopsis: When 22-year-old Rae, a descendant of Holocaust survivors, is targeted by Neo-Nazis in Billings, Montana, her ancestors' trauma becomes real. Inspired by true events, this coming-of-age story shows the inherited effects of historical trauma and the strength of survival and healing.



Farm Free or Die

Showtime: Sunday, Documentary Short Film 3 - 12:31 pm
Director & Producer: Roger Sorkin
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 0:28:57
Synopsis: Farm Free or Die shows how transformative agricultural policies can improve farming livelihoods while addressing the climate crisis. The stories of farmers on the front lines of severe environmental and economic adversity will catalyze support for policies that stabilize rural communities, strengthen food security, and incentivize soil health and carbon removal.


The White Rose

Student Film
Showtime: Sunday, Student Films Section 3 - 1:10 pm (Film 1 of 2)
Director and Producer: Ian Kim
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 0:2:30
Synopsis: The story of the German students who resisted the Nazis by distributing incendiary leaflets told in stop-motion animation through the account of former member George J. Wittenstein.




Glued

Student Film
Showtime: Sunday, Student Films Section 3 - 1:10 pm (Film 2 of 2)
Director & Producer: Oswmer Louis
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 0:09:02
Synopsis: A young man is stuck in his chair.

Old Met

Showtime: Sunday, Found Footage 3 - 1:22 pm
Director & Producer: John Haley
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 0:06:00
Synopsis: "Old Met" is a short experimental archival documentary exploring the imprint of capitalism on lived spaces. The film documents the structural journey of a single plot of land, from the construction of the Minnesota Twins' Metropolitan Stadium to its eventual demolition and replacement by the Mall of America. As the film spirals between these two quintessentially “American” symbols—the baseball stadium and the shopping mall—the circuitous and appropriative mechanisms of our economic structures are imprinted, again and again, on the surrounding landscape.

SuperDick | ep 1 | Red Rage

Showtime: Sunday, Web/TV 2 - 1:28 pm
Director and Producer: Charlie Harmony
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 0:07:00
Synopsis: A misanthropic superhero takes therapy in order to handle the everyday ebbs and flows of fighting crime.

Cinema & Sanctuary

Showtime: Sunday, Feature Film 7 - 1:35 pm
Director & Producer: Dave Davidson
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 1:00:00
Synopsis: “Cinema and Sanctuary” tells the astonishing and little-known story of the first documentary film school in America. Under the watchful eye of renowned avant garde filmmaker and DADAist, Hans Richter, The Film Institute at the City College of NY exposed generations of working class kids raised on Hollywood movies to the power of documentary film. Richter's students ranged from Oscar winners Alan Heim and Lawrence Silk to avant-garde experimenters Shirley Clarke and Jonas Mekas. Despite its enormous impact, the Institute proved to be too far ahead of its time. Short-sighted college administrators claimed that the teaching of the most powerful art form of the modern era belonged “in trade schools” and not at a senior college. Outraged students responded in protest, staging a ‘cinematic invasion’ of the President’s house in the spirit of Hans Richter’s DADA political theatre.



Divertimento

Showtime: Sunday, Short Films Section 4 - 2:35 pm (Film 1 of 5)
Director & Producer: Kayvan Sheikhalishahi
Country of Origin: France
Running Time: 0:30:00
Synopsis: Jonas Olsen, a chess player haunted by a tragic past, is given an opportunity to participate in a mysterious game, Divertimento.



Static Space

Showtime: Sunday, Short Films Section 4 - 2:35 pm (Film 2 of 5)
Directors & Producers: Kate Black-Spence & John Klein
Country of Origin: Unites States
Running Time: 0:28:43
Synopsis: Jamie lives an autopilot existence in Indiana until a distant voice comes through her ham radio. Two women who couldn't be more different are about to learn a powerful connection can change everything.

The T.P. Curse

Showtime: Sunday, Short Films Section 4 - 2:35 pm (Film 3 of 5)
Directors & Producers: Adam Rebora & Miles Strong-Austin
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 0:04:59
Synopsis: A tale as old as time. A hoarder gets more than he bargained for when he refuses to spare a roll of toilet paper.


Raise Your Voice

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.

A Gift For All Ages

Showtime: Sunday, Short Films Section 4 - 2:35 pm
Directors: Russell Webb & Alicia Wszalaki
Producer: Russell Webb
Country of Origin: Unites States
Running Time: 0:36:10
Synopsis: A brand new “Golden Age of Hollywood” classic film about life, love, and, Christmas! When a cheerful stranger invades the home of a frustrated author and his wife. The odd fellow proves to be more than an inspiration, he emboldens a timeless gift for generations.



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