Monday, July 18, 2011

'Press For Truth' Nominated For People's Choice Award at Iowa Film Fest

"It got many votes but was beat out by a film from New Zealand called 'This Way of Life'," reported co-director Bonnie Schmidt at the conclusion of the Iowa Independent Film Festival, speaking about Press For Truth's nomination in the Best Documentary category. The doc, directed by Ray Nowosielski, played the Clear Lake Arts Center last Friday and again on Sunday to close out the fest. Congratulations to director Tom Burstyn and the team at This Way of Life on their win. Their movie is an intimate portrait of a family in New Zealand, a modern parable about their unconventional response to the questions that confront many families in our current times.

The festival was plagued by the extreme high temperatures and heat index that much of the Midwest has been suffering through. "Well, that sure didn't help attendance," said Schmidt. "But not a bad crowd in those circumstances. The rooms were pretty full." She told the filmmakers about a couple of comments she received over the course of the fest. "A woman told me that she had just seen it. I asked her what she thought. She said, 'It made me really mad,' and I responded, 'Good. I think its supposed to make you mad. If it doesn't, then you won't do anything about it.'"

On Saturday, just before the Awards Ceremony, Schmidt was talking to a couple who were getting ready to leave and asked them what they had seen that they had liked. "Well, a lot of things," answered the man, "But I can't stop thinking about Press For Truth." Schmidt was reminded of the experience she and her husband, fellow festival co-director Greg Schmidt, had the first time they randomly found the movie on Netflix instant view. "We talked about it for days. It was really thought-provoking. It just really stuck with me. That's why we [requested the filmmakers submit it]."

The producers behind Press For Truth (John Duffy, Ken Ellis, Kyle F. Hence, Nowosielski, and Rory O'Connor) chose to release the movie theatrically in August 2006 and on DVD very soon after sans a film festival premiere in order for the movie to be seen by as wide an audience as possible in time for the 9/11 fifth anniversary. This decision prevented entry into most prominent film festivals, as many require they be the national premiere and preclude previous release on home video. Despite this, the doc has been invited to a number of festivals over the years, including "the most important Spanish language film fest in the world," Mexico's 22nd annual Guadalajara International Film Festival; the biggest doc fest in South America, Brazil's 12th annual 'It's All True' International Documentary Film Festival; "the most important fest of its kind in Central Europe," Czech Republic's 12th annual Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival; the 3rd annual Seattle True Independent Film Festival; and, now, the IIFF.

A big thank you to co-directors Greg and Bonnie Schmidt, festival founders Tanna Frederick, Richard Schinnow, and indie film legend Henry Jaglom, the rest of the team at IIFF, and everyone who came out to watch Truth and who voted for it for People's Choice Award in Best Documentary!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Iowa Indie Film Festival 2011 Begins Tomorrow

Press For Truth will be among the twenty-nine movies, both narrative and non-fiction alike, playing the opening day of the 5th annual Iowa Independent Film Festival tomorrow, Friday, July 15th. The 2006 documentary chronicling the so-called Jersey Widows' battle for transparency and accountability in the 9/11 attacks that killed their husbands will play at 3:00PM at the Clear Lake Arts Center at 17 South 4th Street in downtown Clear Lake, Iowa. It will also close the festival with a screening at the same theater at 4:00PM on Sunday, July 17th. Purchase your tickets here.

Beloved indie filmmaker Henry Jaglom conceived the IIFF in 2007 with Iowan actress Tanna Frederick after directing her in his movie Hollywood Dreams, a favorite of Jaglom enthusiasts. Among the documentary entries this year are Josh Tickell's Sundance Film Festival Audience Award-winner Fuel, a look at the gas crisis and how to solve it, and the short Earthship Haiti, an inspiring account of unique dwellings being built for survivors of the Haiti earthquake. A new addition to this year's fest is the Youth Film Festival for ages ten to eighteen. The awards ceremony on Saturday night will be followed by an industry social mixer featuring live music.