What is the Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival?
The Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival (CRIFF) began in 2001 as a venue for filmmakers with connections to Iowa to screen their work for peers and general audiences. Each year, CRIFF celebrates the work of filmmakers from across the state, all over the country, and around the world, all with connections to Iowa. In fact, the rule that distinguishes CRIFF from every other film festival is that the entry must have an Iowa connection. That could be a crew or cast member who lived, worked, or went to school in Iowa; a film that was produced, at least in part, in Iowa; or a story featuring an Iowa subject or Iowan (present or former, real or fictional). CRIFF organizers challenge you next time you’re working on a video project to ask around…you just might have an Iowan on set!
With 2023 being the twentieth year of the festival, organizers were thrilled to receive 99 entries – the most since 2007. Judges carefully chose 51 to be recognized as Official Selections for the festival. These films are honored with two screenings during the festival, a commemorative t-shirt, the entry title featured on statewide promotional media, and advancement into the Eddy Awards competition, presented by Farmers State Bank.
What are the Eddy Awards?
The Eddy Awards are named after Thomas Alva Edison, who, among his many other pursuits, pioneered motion picture technology. The term eddy is also defined as “a current moving contrary to the direction of the main current,” which is a suitable description for independent filmmakers, who often go against the current trends in mainstream cinema.
Gold and Silver Eddy Awards are presented in Professional, Pro-Am and Student categories for Features, Shorts, Documentaries, and “Freestyle” (experimental, music video, video art, etc.) films. We also award the Audience Choice and Student Audience Choice Eddy Awards, which are voted on by audience members.
Additionally, the $1000 Collins Road Theatres Scholarship is a $1,000 is awarded each year to a student filmmaker to further the recipient’s filmmaking education and career. Collins Road Theatres has been the location of the festival since 2004. This year’s scholarship will be awarded after the Eddy Awards ceremony on Saturday evening.
Finally, the Iowa Connection Eddy is awarded to the film that best represents Iowa’s filmmaking community. The winner is a film that tells the world who is making films in Iowa, why they’re doing it in Iowa, and what stories come from Iowa.
Why Support Filmmakers?
It’s up to us as audience members to support filmmakers and allow them to continue to create worlds and conversations for us.
Film is meant to give audiences an escape. The length of the film allows audience members time to forget about life’s stresses, worries, and responsibilities while they slip into the world of humor, love, and fantasy. There is so much more to film than entertainment! Film is about bringing conversation to the world that may not be discussed otherwise. Many films, especially independent films, highlight creative freedom to express new ideas and thoughtful stories that aren’t top-of-mind for everyone. Creating conversation through film to keep our world connected is vitally important for all ages.
The process of filmmaking creates a sense of community for those involved in the project. Film is an industry that allows everyone to get involved, regardless of social class, race, gender, or experience level. Creativity is highlighted in many parts of the filmmaking process, like screenwriting, directing, editing, sound production, wardrobe design, and acting.
When you see a post on social media about an upcoming film, share it. When you see a film that interests you playing at a local theater, go see it. When you have a film festival in your community, attend it! Our filmmakers are only as strong as the support we provide them as audience members.
How to Get Involved with the Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival
- Enter your film: Submissions for the 2023 festival are currently closed, but don’t worry! CRIFF will announce later this year when submissions will begin to be accepted for the 2024 festival.
- Volunteer: The festival is run 100% by volunteers. Any support provided by members of the CRIFF community is a huge help to the organization. There are also perks to volunteering at the festival, like free pop and popcorn, free admission, meeting filmmakers, and more.
- Donate: The Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Whether your donation is in the form of funds, facilities, food or other in-kind donations, CRIFF and its filmmakers and audiences greatly appreciate the public’s generosity and support.
- Attend the festival: Attending the festival is the best way to show your support, and it’s fun for the entire family! Tickets are available online to pre-order and also at the door the weekend of the festival.
Learn more about the Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival at www.crifm.org.