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University of Iowa News Release

Release: March 11, 2003

New UI Group Hosts Documentary Film Festival March 28-30

A new University of Iowa group that includes students and members of the Iowa City community is hosting a festival of short documentary film March 28-30 at the UI. The Iowa City International Documentary Festival Organization has selected 35 documentary films, all 30 minutes or shorter, for its first festival.

The festival runs from 1:30 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 11 p.m. March 28; 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 1:30 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 10:30 p.m. March 29; and 7 to 10 p.m. March 30. Films will be shown in 101 Becker Communication Studies Building during the afternoon sessions and at the Bijou Theater (Iowa Memorial Union Terrace Room) in the evenings. All events are free and open to the public.

The films range from journalistic works about children detained by the Immigration and Naturalization Service to humorous entries such as a portrayal of cultural differences in eating breakfast cereal, and the rivalry between two towns that vie for the distinction of having the world's largest ball of twine. Artistic films include a day-in-the-life chronicle of a busy train station in India and a satirical denunciation of U.S. involvement in overseas war.

Gini Sipes, a UI law student and executive director of the festival, said the short length of all the films should appeal to a wide audience, including those who don't usually choose to watch documentaries. "If the documentary on the screen isn't your cup of tea, just wait a minute - something completely different will be coming along soon," she said.

The festival judges are all working documentary filmmakers: Laura Dunn of Austin, Texas; Garrett Scott of Oakland, Calif.; and Sarah Price, of Milwaukee, a UI alumna and co-producer of "American Movie," which won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival in 1999.

The competitive portion of the festival will take place in the afternoon and evening of both March 28 and 29, and winners will be announced shortly after the last program on Saturday night. An artist panel discussion and a re-showing of the winning entries are scheduled for Sunday, March 30. In addition to the competitive screenings, the judges will host screenings with panel discussions of their own work. Final program schedules will be posted at

This festival is supported by a grant from Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information on the Iowa City International Documentary Festival, please contact Theresa Seeberger, press liaison, at 319-400-0119.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACT(S): Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011, Program: Theresa Seeberger, ICDOC press liaison, 319-400-0119,