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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 3, 2004

Independent Filmmaker Matt McCormick To Visit UI Nov. 13

Independent filmmaker Matt McCormick will host a screening of his work and present a workshop on "Do-It-Yourself Film Distribution" when he visits the University of Iowa on Saturday, Nov. 13, courtesy of IC Microcinema and a grant from the UI's Year of the Arts and Humanities (YAH) program. Both events are free and open to the public, although registration is required for the workshop.

The workshop is at 1 p.m. in Room 2217 of the Seaman's Center for Engineering. To register, email

The screenings, whose theme is "From Tugboats to Polar Bears," will begin at 8 p.m. in W151 of the Pappajohn Business Building.

McCormick, who lives in Portland, Ore. and is currently touring the Midwest, has emerged as one of the most highly acclaimed contemporary independent filmmakers and has won multiple awards. His work blurs the line between documentary and experimental film, fashioning abstract and witty observations of contemporary culture and current issues.

His films have screened internationally, as well as at the Sundance Film Festival, and have aired on MTV and Showtime. His widely celebrated film "The Subconscious Art of Graffiti Removal" was named one of the "Top 10 Films of the 2002" by both The Village Voice and Art Forum magazine. He is also the founder of Peripheral Produce, an internationally recognized video distribution label specializing in short experimental work, and he serves as director of the Portland Documentary and eXperimental Film Festival (PDX), Portland's premiere venue for experimental, documentary and otherwise obscure contemporary cinema.

During the UI workshop, McCormick will introduce filmmakers to the process of promoting their work for larger audiences on regional and national levels. As founder of one of the most successful independent video distribution labels, he will offer insight and information on submitting to film festivals, releasing work on video, and organizing shows.

Films McCormick will present during the screening are:


22 minutes--16mm on video--2004

An experimental documentary about tugboats (or perhaps a children's movie made for adults). Features original music by James Mercer of The Shins.

"American Nutria"

11 minutes--video--2003

Nutria are a large, odd looking rodent from Argentina, that 60 years after their introduction to North America, appear to be on track to eating the entire continent. Narrated by Calvin Johnson, original music by The Postal Service.

"The Subconscious Art of Graffiti Removal"

16 minutes--16mm or video--2001

A short documentary that proves it is no coincidence that funding for anti-graffiti campaigns often outweigh funding for the arts. Narrated by Miranda July.


5 minutes--16mm on video--2004

A portrait of heavy industry and urban wildlife

"Going to the Ocean"

8 minutes--16mm--2001

An abstract meditation on the uses of water. Night vision video and found kodachrome-improvised soundtrack: trains/static/melodeon.

"The Vyrotonin Decision"

7 minutes--16mm--1999

A postmodern disaster epic featuring appropriated segments of 36 television commercials from 1971.

"Sincerely, Joe P. Bear"

4 minutes--16mm--1999

Appropriated news clips from the 1960s combine with hand-painted film to tackle the momentous issue of how polar bears cope with heartbreak and rejection.

"Past and Pending"

5 minutes--music video--2003

A music video for The Shins.

McCormick's visit is being made possible by a YAH grant secured by Jennifer Proctor and Shannon Silva, both graduate students in the UI College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Department of Cinema and Comparative Literature and members of IC Microcinema.

IC Microcinema is an organization run by UI graduate students and Iowa City filmmakers dedicated to promoting the instruction, production, and screening of independently produced, adventurous, and thoughtful short films in an effort to build and fortify an inclusive community of active filmgoers and filmmakers.

For more information, email or visit

UI President David Skorton's determination to increase public awareness and support of the rich tradition of arts and humanities on campus and throughout Iowa led him to declare academic year 2004-2005 the Year of Arts and Humanities, a time to celebrate that rich tradition and forge cultural linkages between the academic community and communities around the state. The Year of the Arts and Humanities is supported by the Office of the President, the Office of the Vice-president for Research and the Graduate College. For more information about YAH and YAH projects visit

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

CONTACTS: Media: Stephen Pradarelli, 319-384-0007,; Program: Jennifer Proctor,