The Film Lounge showcases
the diverse work of Iowa filmmakers. On this episode you’ll
find a one shot story of a little girl lost, a visit
with a sculptor of iron, an experiment in casual
observation, a filmmaker’s exploration of a bizarre
moment, a shout out for a new web series, a story of
a champion cornhusker, a glimpse of the refugee
crisis, and an old myth in a new light. Join us now in
the Film Lounge. Funding for the Film
Lounge has been provided by Produce Iowa,
state office of media production, building a
statewide network of support for the film
community in Iowa. More information and
how you can connect is available at And the Iowa Arts Council,
empowering Iowa to build and sustain culturally
vibrant communities by cultivating creativity,
learning and participation in the arts. Learn more at ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ Best: With Lost & Found I worked with Cameron
Downing, a really skilled camera guy and
producer and director. Lost & Found was created
for a specific contest that was over in Europe
and Cameron approached me and said hey, let’s do
this together, and it was specifically made
as a one shot thing. That was the contest was
to do a one shot story that way. And so I got to work
writing the concept and I wanted to come up with
something that would touch people and something that
would be interesting to watch and maybe some kind
of twist going on at the end. And we shot that in a
parking lot, which was also the concept, the one
shot had to be something small that we could
film locally, easily. So we did that and then
we submitted into this contest and we took third
place in an international contest and that was
really impressive for us and it was like, wow, this
is really working well. ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ I told you if we didn’t use the kite so
near the trees we wouldn’t have that kind
of a problem. ♪♪ Next time you
don’t listen to me — Amanda? Amanda? ♪♪ Amanda? Amanda? ♪♪ Amanda!! ♪♪ Hey excuse me,
have you seen a little girl run inside,
a blonde girl? Amanda!! Get back here!! ♪♪ Hey, excuse me,
sir, have you seen this little girl? A blonde girl
about this high. Sorry. Alright, thanks a lot. ♪♪ Amanda!! ♪♪ Hey excuse me,
have you guys seen this little girl here? Come on, I’m just
looking for my daughter! ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ Johnson: I think a takeaway in terms of
watching a documentary film is to be able to
experience a world that you just don’t
have access to. I’m making films that are
primarily between seven and fifteen minutes long. And my recent pieces
are focused on single characters. So I want to tell their
story and represent what they’re doing whether it’s
someone who is an iron caster or someone who is a
cheesemaker or someone who is a cyclist and help
people kind of understand what goes into their
crafts and also think about ways in which the
audience could identify with those people. And it’s difficult
sometimes because you want to ethically represent
those people, no doubt about it. But you also want to bring
a story that’s going to be captivating, that’s going
to hit people both in their heart and their soul
and impact them in some way. ♪♪ Iron is, if you
think of it in a cosmic level and in a human
level, iron is the core of the Earth. Iron is the core of what
we are standing on, it’s what made this place. It’s in a lot of our world
and everything we do. We cook with iron and
it’s in our blood. It’s a major source of who
we are and what we do and our DNA and it’s like,
it’s kind of cool to think it’s that important to
our life and who we are. ♪♪ ♪♪ I had a
sensibility with 3D that not a lot of people did
because of my background growing up on the farm, I
already knew how to use all the tools, I knew
how to build things. Conceptually I knew how
things should go together and aesthetically
how they should look. So those kind of things
came in handy and I just naturally did it and it
just felt natural and easy. That’s when my professors
were like, you’re a good photographer, but you
could be a great sculptor. And that’s where I kind
of found my core group of people that I clicked more
with, hardworking, just really tough people that
had the same ideas I did. And so that was
kind of my new home. My mom was diagnosed with
Lou Gehrig’s Disease and it was the right time for
me to move back home. All the work I was doing
was building my house and working for these other
companies, honing my skills. But when I moved back to
the farm one of my goals was like, I’m going to be
back here, I can make art, I can start making art
again finally after being away for so long. The second year that we
had down on the farm my mom passed away five
days before the pour. Everybody was calling up,
they had heard about it right away because within
my iron circle we’re such a close-knit family. I found a family in art
that just really is incredible. They have the same kind of
work ethic, the same kind of ideas that I have about
what I’m doing and they’re very giving. They’re not like — a lot
of the other art forms end up being very like this
is my idea, I don’t want anybody else to know about
it because somebody might take it and make their
own thing out of it. The iron community is just
like if somebody figured something out they tell
everybody about it because they want it to help
perpetuate the knowledge and to help everybody else
get to that level faster and maybe we can take the
art world, the iron art world to another level the
more that we do this, the more that we show each
other our own techniques. If you hold onto this
knowledge and you go to it with your grave you’re not
helping out the rest of the world. You need to keep
passing this on. ♪♪ Iron just has this
thing with it that is, I think just because you’re
basically casting iron the same way they’ve done it
for a couple thousand years and it feels when
you’re doing it very primal and very raw and
that work ethic, that has just always been a part of
me and part of my work too is just getting in there
and getting dirty is nothing, that just shows
you did something. Kind of almost got like a
bee’s nest kind of thing where everybody, you’ve
got all these little workers that are breaking
iron and then you’ve got these other workers that
are putting together other things, breaking up the
fuel source and you’ve got other workers that are
making food for the whole crew, which that’s a big
part of it too because you’ve got to keep
everybody fed to keep working. And so you’ve got all
these little different groups that are all doing
their own little things and the group putting
the furnace together and making sure everything is
ready for that and it’s all these different groups
that are working together for a common good, which
is the end all is the night where we actually
cast iron and melt the metal. You’ve got a specific crew
that’s on the furnace, keeping the furnace happy
and then you’ve got crew that’s around that, that
is carrying the pots of metal and pouring
the metal out. So you have all these
different little groups that are all symbiotic
working together for a common good. You think of iron as such
a hard, durable substance and here we are turning it
into looking like water. That’s an
incredible thing. When this furnace gets
going it’s definitely, it’s an entity that’s in
there cooking and I’m just trying to be a part of
that furnace when it’s doing that and understand
it and be in a way that isn’t harmful to it and
allows it to do what it wants to do which
is just make metal. Once it gets going all it
wants to do is cast molten metal and that’s the
energy that it wants. And I always try to,
whenever I’m working on the furnace I’m trying
to, when I’m ramming the bottom and I’m getting
everything prepped and ready for it and lighting
the furnace I always want to be there as a part of
that because I feel like I carry some of that energy
of the furnace with me wherever I go and that I’m
trying to give that energy back into the furnace when
I’m lighting the furnace. But then at the very end
of the furnace I’m holding space for that energy to
come back to me so when we take the furnace and we
drop the bottom on the furnace and release all
that energy back out and it goes back to the Earth
for the most part, some of that energy I’m taking
back with me to take to the next furnace. It’s kind of like the
mother in kombucha or whatever, I’m holding onto
this stuff that I can actually take onto the
next furnace or friendship bread or whatever
you want to call it. It’s like this same
kind of mentality. But my friends kind of
laugh at me and they think it’s funny but that’s
just how I see it. ♪♪ Iron casting means
to me, oh man, it’s an evolution I guess for me. It’s just like being able
to take something from nothingness and create
something but then you have to make it into
this newfound piece. It’s just like you’re
creating something, you’re birthing something every
time you’re doing the metal casting. The same thing with the
furnace too, you’re building this furnace that
you’re going to feed it and you’re kind of like
it’s a child almost and you’re hoping it grows up
to be something great. With this you’re hoping
it’s going to give you lots of metal that then
can give you lots of offspring of
lovely castings. It’s this incredible, I
don’t know, it’s a life cycle, each one of these
castings and every time we do an iron pour, it’s just
a beautiful small little cosmos or whatever of
life, or little, I’m trying to think of other
ways of describing it. It’s tough for me because
it’s such a big part of my world and my life right
now and what I do and the family and it’s the
camaraderie, it’s that same thing, it’s that
family, that large group family that I have access
to now that’s just, that have been brought into
my life because of iron. None of these people I
would have known without iron. And there’s just some
of my best friends are because of that,
lots of them. It’s amazing
how many people. But iron, for me it’s life
and that’s kind of the best way for me. It’s my life, my lifestyle
I guess and how I live it is very much iron. ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ Carstens: I think I have a personal
goal as a filmmaker to recognize my relationship
in what’s happening. There’s also an element
where I love watching things happen where I
don’t necessarily know if they can see that I’m
watching them or they can know that I’m watching
them and there’s that power of relationship
again where I have this kind of separation. So with Empty Baskets
I drove past and I recognized my friends
sitting in there and I just started recording
them, just kind of like this is kind of fun, they
don’t know I’m watching, I’ll show this
to them later. As it started to develop
and eventually got inside and realized that they
were okay with it, then realized that I was
constructing that story the whole time, I just
thought I was responding to the story. And so now they know that
the camera is watching, so how is that
going to change? And that just became
so fascinating to me. ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ Day: One day it
was Pride weekend and it was right after
the Pride parade. He called me and he said,
I just got done with Pride, I’m in drag and
I have a bird on my shoulder, what
are you doing? And I’m like, I had just
gotten home, I think I just went grocery shopping
or something, very domestic. And he comes over and low
and behold, as you see him in the film is exactly how
he looked when he got out of his car. And he said, do you want
to do something with this? And so I picked up the
camera and I just said, okay, we’ll sit in this
chair and just start moving. Before I even had the
camera on he was starting to act weird, doing
things with his hands. It was almost as if like a
method actor how they try to work themselves up. This was really an
exercise in fun. It was Patrick
and I having fun. There was one of those
things where there was no underlying theme, there
was no message we were trying to give out, it was
us having fun that we had this moment that he is in
makeup and he had a bird and I have a camera. ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ I’m only three and a half years
old. He told me to wait
right here. I’m not going anywhere
until he comes back. He told me to
wait right here. I’m going to wait right
here until he comes back. ♪♪ ♪♪ He told
me to wait right here. I’m not going anywhere
until he comes back. He told me to
wait right here. I’m going to wait right
here until he comes back. ♪♪ ♪♪ He told me
to wait right here and I’m waiting right here,
waiting right here until he comes back. ♪♪ Until
he comes back. Until he comes back. I’m not going anywhere
until he comes back — I got told to wait right here
so I’m going to wait right here until he comes back. ♪♪ ♪♪ (bell rings) Smith: Outed is a story about two high
school seniors who desperately love each
other but because of life circumstances struggle
to be together. It’s a web series. Each episode is about
7 to 11 minutes long. I wrote and created the
series and then I also decided to act in the
show as well mainly just because I was very
connected with the storyline and it was
something that was inspired by a situation
I went through. So I decided to
write about it. What’s the matter? Everyone’s staring. What? No they’re not. I’m sure it’s nothing. What happened last night? What are you
talking about? What’s going on? I was hoping you
guys could tell me. Okay, can you please just
tell us what’s going on? (bell rings) Smith: This
is pretty much my first soiree into film. I’ve done a lot of
theatre, done a lot of acting and writing. As far as film if I really
wanted an experience there was no better place
than to do it in Iowa. My goal was to surround
myself with pretty remarkable talent and people who knew what
they were doing. Pace-Tuomi: First as a
producer I set out to develop the shooting
schedule that would maximize our locations and
also allow us to shoot in a short period of time
without killing ourselves. We actually ended up shooting
four episodes basically over a week. So we were
shooting very fast. At one point we shot
three different setups on different sides of town in
one day, starting in the morning, moving in the
afternoon to a different location and finishing on
the totally other side of town for our last
location of the night. It’s not something I
recommend but sometimes it becomes a necessity when
you’re shooting independent film. Ridley: They knew that we’d have
to be here at one and then all the way across town at
1:30 with the exact same crew, with all the
equipment ready to go. It’s very rare on sets
where you’re working very long hours with very
little time you’ll have fun at every turn. We did have fun at every turn. Smith: I didn’t really
know what to expect the first day and I
was so excited. I walked on and saw all
these people getting organized and getting
everything put together for the actors to come
in and it’s like, oh my goodness, this
is my baby. Things are going to be
seen. And it was a very, very surreal and humbling
experience. ♪♪ Hey, are you okay? Do you need help? Oh, easy, easy, easy. How’s your head? Fine I think. Thanks. No sweat. Did you want some
ice for that? I’ll be good. Name’s Connor. Max. Nice to meet you. Yeah, same. Ridley: When you get to
know characters like Max he’s first introduced
after having weathered so many storms, he has kind
of developed this sense of self that is unflinching
and he’s not compromising of anything. When you first get to know
Tyler he’s very weak in that respect. He has a very poisonous
idea of how much people’s opinions of him matter
and how much his status matters. So to watch him take back
his identity and find a way eventually to stand up
and say this is who I am and this is who I’ve
decided to be, that’s huge I think. Adams: We help ourselves
through fictional stories that relate to our
personal endeavors and I believe that there’s going
to be someone who is going to be able to make that
connection and say, this is how he dealt with it,
and maybe deal with their personal circumstance
in a better manner. I believe that the
openness of Outed is going to be able to help
some people out. Smith: The writing process
was certainly cathartic. It gave me the opportunity
to say a lot of things that I didn’t initially
have the opportunity to say then also spin it so
it could be crafted out of love, to be a source of
inspiration rather than of fear. Do you honestly think
I took that photo? Didn’t you? No, absolutely not. Why would I? You and I both know how
badly you want to be out of the closet. Here’s your chance. Do you still
want to be out? I wouldn’t do that
to you, I couldn’t. Smith: I want this series
to inspire people to be who they are,
unapologetically themselves and really just
love themselves before they start loving other
people because that’s the first step. ♪♪ ♪♪ Sherburne:
We’ve been working mostly in feature length form
for the last ten years. So it’s always fun to
just get out there and do something very immediate
and so this short film was a chance to do that, to
just get out there, to find a story and to bring
it home, edit it and do it all in a much more
compact frame. Haines: We wanted to come
in and do an observational documentary about the
National Cornhusking Championships and see the
people that participate in this type of event and we
wanted to get a lot of beautiful cinematography
and shots of the events. But that changed quickly
when we met Leroy. These type of guys, these
guys in the Depression era, they don’t come
around that much these days. So it was interesting for
us to see that and make sure that we captured that
and shed a light on at least a little piece
of his generation. (train sounds) ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ — as it stands, one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. ♪♪ I grew up in that
late ’30s in World War II and everything is
picked by hand. So I’ve done it for
a long, long time. So they’ve got 50
bushel on there. Just look how much
work they’ve done. You don’t do all the
work anymore, chemicals, chemicals make farmers. There’s no small farmer
that can afford to buy a $500,000, $600,000 combine
and these tractors. You just can’t
afford that. That’s my dad. I was just telling them
they draw 125,000 people. 1938, 85,000. Lord God, Heavenly Father,
thank you for bringing us together today for this
event that takes us back in time many years. Thank you for our
agricultural heritage in this country, especially
parents, grandparents, who made their living off
the good land that you created. Thank you for the grain
fields all around us, signs of your
gracious providence. In your name then, Father,
Son and Holy Spirit, Amen. In any field here we will
pick it, anything left on the stock will be stripped
off the stock. We’re going to run them
out in groups of five. As soon as they get just
about done the brush cutter is coming through
and then we’ll start the next five. Heat one. 75 and older. Heat
one. We will need the Golden
Agers Men to draw for your land. I grew up poor in the
late ’30s and ’40s and I know how to work. So did I. There was no money around. What year were
you born then? ’30. ’29. Okay. I picked corn then, my dad
was sick in ’43, he had cancer and then he died
and us kids would pick corn after school at night
and I know how to work. Here we go. ♪♪ I’ve won a few
years in a row national champ. First place? Yep. Oh geez. ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ I don’t have any muscles anymore. ♪♪ ♪♪ 5-4-3-2-1. That’s it. Is that it? That’s it. Good job. He picked 121
gross pounds. Gross pounds
before deductions. The gleanings —
What does that mean? That’s the corn that you
missed in your row or corn that you threw to the
wagon and missed and didn’t pick up. Oh, I didn’t know
I missed any. Well, I didn’t
know you did. I’m just saying, if they
do — But I bet I did then. That is a deduction. If they throw the ear of
corn in the cow tank and if it floated then it was
time to pick and this is probably wetter than that. (tractor engine) (tractor engine) ♪♪ Well, if anybody beat me, they’re
really good, Nancy. Oh yeah but I felt good. I could have went no more. I’ll be 90 in December. I don’t want to give up
yet but this is the last year I think. We’ll see how I feel. My wind is gone. I tell you, after that
heart attack — Mine is pretty good, I
feel pretty good. (indistinct chatter) (indistinct chatter) Will you look and
see what I got? ♪♪ How about somebody
just reads them off. You won. You’re not kidding me? No. You won. I won! You took it again, huh? Yep. I expected that. That’s the advantage when
you’re raised poor and you know how to work. Oh. Golden Agers 75 and older,
1st place goes to Leroy of Algona. ♪♪ ♪♪ Last call
for any youth if you would come to the
announcer stand. ♪♪ Schlesinger: The
focus of the whole project is the refugee crisis
and we aim to keep a conversation going about
the refugee crisis no matter what is happening
in the media and in the press. So we wanted to
artistically bear witness to the refugee crisis. We began at the beginning
with an adaptation of Euripides anti-war play
Iphigenia at Aulis and we adapted it for
contemporary times. We took a trip to Greece
to adapt Iphigenia at Aulis and we knew that we
would be in the middle of the refugee crisis
while this happened. We took an artistic leap
of faith because we didn’t know how it would play
out, we didn’t know where we would land, we didn’t
know what people we would meet. But as we arrived in
Greece the refugee crisis escalated. People were coming to the
islands from Africa, from the Middle East,
from Syria. And so in that way we
decided all to bear witness with the
art forms we have. (boat engine) (boat engine) (indistinct chatter) (water rushing) (water rushing) (water rushing) (indistinct chatter) (indistinct chatter) (indistinct chatter) (indistinct chatter) (indistinct chatter) (indistinct chatter) (indistinct chatter) (indistinct chatter) (indistinct chatter) (boat engine) (indistinct chatter) (cheering) (children crying) (children crying) (children crying) (water rushing) (water rushing) (children crying) (crying) (boat engine) (boat engine) (children crying) (children crying) (children crying) (water rushing) (water rushing) (indistinct chatter) (indistinct chatter) (indistinct chatter) (indistinct chatter) (indistinct chatter) (indistinct chatter) (indistinct chatter) (indistinct chatter) ♪♪ I’m Kathy Buxton. And I’m Steven Jennings. Buxton: And we own an
animation studio in southeastern Iowa called
Grasshorse Studios. Jennings: And you’re
about ready to watch The Sacrifice, which is an
animated short we did back in 2010. And it started off as
a title sequence for a feature that was done
here in the state and the director, Bruce Elgin,
gave us permission to add an ending onto it to make
it its own stand alone short. Buxton: The original story
is called The Offering and the Elgin’s actually came
to us with the idea that they wanted to do
something based off of St. George and the Dragon. Jennings: And so we were
saying, okay, well let’s really rethink about how
this piece ends and be a little bit playful with it
and send a little bit more interesting of a message. Buxton: And a more modern
message, a more powerful message to a certain piece
of our audience and that is women, that you
can save yourself. ♪♪ ♪♪ (dragon breathing fire) ♪♪ ♪♪ (woman screams) ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ (dragon roars) (cheering) (horse neighs) ♪♪ ♪♪ Funding for the
Film Lounge has been provided by Produce Iowa,
state office of media production, building a
statewide network of support for the film
community in Iowa. More information and
how you can connect is available at And the Iowa Arts Council,
empowering Iowa to build and sustain culturally
vibrant communities by cultivating creativity,
learning and participation in the arts. Learn more at