Reel IC : ICDOCS keeps it real

Bookmark and Share

I’ll always take a good documentary over a good drama.

Any good cinema is like a daydream, but to disappear into a dream that isn’t a dream? That’s a pleasure only found in a great doc–the beautiful offspring of cinema and journalism, with only the best genes of both parents passed on. (of course, there’s also the ugly younger sibling of the doc: reality tv, but lets not talk of that)

So why is this important today? Because you have two nights left to take advantage of Iowa City’s homegrown documentary festival, ICDOCS (check out the full fest website).

Festivals are unique, and as festivals go, ICDOCS is more so. It focuses mainly on short docs–there are three feature-length films, but the others all clock in at 30 minutes or less. Which is a wonderful thing. There aren’t many venues (even in the ever expanding cable universe) where you can watch (and discuss!) more than a half dozen films in two hours.

Better yet, the whole thing is free. How could you not?

Two short sessions remain tonight (4:30-6:30 and 7-9 at the Bijou) and one session tomorrow (3-5 at the Bijou) followed by a 7pm judges’ screening at the Adler Journalism Bldg of Mitch McCabes’s Youth Knows No Pain (see trailer below) a film about plastic surgery told from the point of view of a plastic surgeon’s daughter. Follow the crowd to Leaf Kitchen for some complimentary food and awarding of awards.

The full schedule of events can be found at the ICDOCS website.

For a bit more on why ICDOCS is an important part of our local cinema scene, I chatted with Carina Johnson, ICDOCS organizer.

LV: What is the mission of the ICDOCS fest?

CJ: The Iowa City International Documentary Festival (ICDOCS) is a non-profit, all volunteer-run festival that showcases independent, high-quality short nonfiction film and video from around the world over one weekend in April. ICDOCS was founded in 2002 with the mission of serving as a catalyst for positive change and fostering dialogue on a range of issues, both international and local.

Curious what's happening this weekend? Sign up here to stay in the know.

LV: What do you hope the community will gain from attending the festival?

CJ: Our screenings expose viewers to films they don’t see on Netflix or in Multiplex theaters, and which can directly relate to events in our community. Since these films are documentaries, the experience they provide is one of education and enlightenment, as well as entertainment.

LV: Do you have any favorite films or recommended programs?

CJ: Films I’m really excited about include Introducing the Stumptown Shooters by Margaret Stratton, about a small town, amateur fireworks club and Aliki, a gorgeous film shot in Cypress which contemplates the death of a flamingo.  Also, first half of the screening at 4:30 on Friday the 16th is all 16mm prints (Settling In, What Else Would I Do, Lucy’s Terrace, and Self Portrait of Others) which is exciting. Also, our two judges will be presenting their films.

LV: Why else should the public be excited about this?

CJ: We also have quite a few of the filmmakers coming to town and there will be events after the screenings that are open to the public where they can meet and talk with the filmmakers and judges.

Cinema, community and free food. Even if I have to buy my own glass of wine, it sounds like a perfect evening.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


A collaboration between The Englert Theatre and FilmScene


Help us build the greatest small city for the arts in America—right here in Iowa City. Learn more »

Donate Today

Strengthen • Grow • Evolve is a collaborative campaign led by two Iowa City-based arts nonprofits, The Englert Theatre and FilmScene that seeks a major reinvestment to strengthen the arts through modern and historic venues, innovative programming, and new models of collaboration.


Enjoy a tasting and drinks from the best chefs the area has to offer!

Presented by

Join us Saturday, February 15, 6 p.m.
@ Coralville Marriott Hotel & Conference Center

For 18 years...

Little Village has been telling the truth and changing our little corner of the world.

If you can, help us head into the next 18 years even stronger with a one-time or monthly contribution of $18, or any amount you choose.



America’s intimate festival experience featuring cutting-edge music, the Midwest’s premier indie book fair, and readings and community happenings across downtown Iowa City.