‘Saving Brinton,’ ‘Amelia 2.0,’ ‘Morris’ bring top IMPA Awards home to Eastern Iowa

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‘Amelia 2.0’ — Ben Whitehair and Angela Billman — photo by Alisabeth Von Presley

The Iowa Motion Picture Association (IMPA) held its 27th annual awards this weekend, and Eastern Iowa brought home the lion’s share of the state honors.

Amelia 2.0, filmed in Cedar Rapids and based on Cedar Rapids playwright Rob Merritt’s The Summerland Project, garnered a directing Excellence award (the festival uses this terminology instead of the “best” of the Oscars or Golden Globes) for Chicago-based Cedar Rapidian Adam Orton. The film’s lead, Angela Billman (who previously played Amelia on stage at Theatre Cedar Rapids) earned an Excellence award in the actress category. Director of photography Camrin Petromale was awarded as well. (See full list of awards and winners at the bottom.)

Iowa City showed up to the table, too, with Northland Films’ Saving Brinton snatching up a shared Excellence award for Documentary (with the short-form doc Marieke, out of Decorah) and a long-form editing nod for Tommy Haines.

The actor Excellence award went to Dylan Jaeger for his role in Cedar Rapids-based Media Adventures’ film Morris.

The awards, which were presented at the Pella Opera House on Saturday, April 21, are chosen by “a panel of third party judges with backgrounds in their specific categories,” said IMPA board of directors member Michael Helgens in a chat. Helgens co-produced the awards event with Kevin Brubaker. The ceremony itself, Helgens said, has “evolved from a simple announcement of winners to a spectacular Gala Presentation that includes musical performances and key note speakers (typically from Iowa) who have achieved success in our industry.”

Fairfield won a fair number of Excellence awards as well, with Last Tree Standing earning seven, the most of any film at the ceremony. A short film by Agnes Peel-McGregor (an alumna of the David Lynch Graduate School of Cinematic Arts at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield), dystopian fable Last Tree Standing took awards in short-form direction, short-form editing and original score, among others.

The IMPA, founded in 1992, supports media production in Iowa through education and networking opportunities, Helgens said. It serves its members through a close relationship with the Iowa Film Office.

IMPA 2018 Awards

(Excellence award winners in bold; all others earned Achievement awards)


Morris (Dylan Jaeger)
Morris (Scott Blow)
Last Tree Standing (Lou Bolster)
Dead Air (Rob Merritt)
The Dying of the Light (Matt Wiggins)


Amelia 2.0 (Angela Billman)
Last Tree Standing (Sage Jarmosco)

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Commercials Under $1,000

Waterloo Black Hawks Promo (Kevin Thorn)

Direction — Short-Form

Last Tree Standing (Agnes Peel-McGregor)
Morris (Michael R. Helgens)
Knock Knock Knock (Ahmed Obayez)

Direction — Medium

Oliver Short (Kevin Isaacson)
Life Before Fairfield (Dick DeAngelis)

Direction — Long-Form

Amelia 2.0 (Adam Orton)

Director of Photography

Amelia 2.0 (Camrin Petromale)
Last Tree Standing (Zachary Peel-McGregor)
Saving Brinton (John Brinton)
Lament of the Milky Way (Kevin J. Railsback)
The Dying of the Light (Ryan Paul Buck)
Life Before Fairfield (Jason Strong)


Marieke (Thomas C. Johnson)
Saving Brinton (Tommy Haines, John Richard, Andrew Sherburne)
A Different Script (Eva Andersen, Francesca Carter)
Life Before Fairfield (Fair Field Productions)

Editing — Short-Form

Last Tree Standing (unspecified)
Oliver Short (Nicholas Schnell)
A Different Script (Eva Andersen, Francesca Carter)

Editing — Medium

Life Before Fairfield (Geoff Boothby)

Editing — Long-Form

Saving Brinton (Tommy Haines)
Amelia 2.0 (Izaak Levison-Share)

Live Action Entertainment — Long (over $50,000)

Amelia 2.0 (MORE Productions)
August In Berlin (Becky Smith)

Live Action Entertainment — Short

Morris (Media Adventures)
Last Tree Standing (Agnes Peel-McGregor)
Juvenile Nostalgia (Andrew Marcus May)
Knock Knock Knock (Gabriel Tejeda, Ahmed Obayez)

Original Music Score

Last Tree Standing (Me-Lee Hay)
Oliver Short (Duane Isaacson)
Saving Brinton (Michael Kramer)
A Different Script (Isaac Brockshus)

Screenplay (Produced)

Last Tree Standing (Agnes Peel-McGregor)
Barrio (Charlie Gandez)

Screenplay (Unproduced)

Presto (Dave Stuck)
Not Dark Yet (Kyle Hintz)
Padre’s Cure (Patrick Towne)

Script Writing (Produced)

WHO Channel 13 News (Louis Jordan)

Soundtrack Audio Mix

Last Tree Standing (Robert Mackenzie)
Morris (Michael R. Helgens)
Dead Air (Marc Bauer, Matthew Tribble)

Student — K-12

Man vs. Clay (Oliver Carrell)
Pandora’s Box Infomercial Spot (Madison Krejci)
MALHEUR (Abdul Mokhter, Ezra Halter)

Student — College

The Spaceman (Tarrell Christie)
#UNITEIOWA (Anna Steenson)
A Spectrum of Faith (Anna Steenson)
#TroyfromTroy (David Kniffen)
Pronto (Da’Shawne Smiley)
Life is Beautiful–Typography (Kevin Thorne)

TV News

Inconclusive Homecoming (Eva Andersen)

Visual Effects — Post Production (Under $10,000)

Last Tree Standing (ZPM Film)
Amelia 2.0 (Adam Orton, Olivia Leisinger, Jacob Meade, Beau Batterson)

Voice Over Narration

Last Tree Standing (Jeffrey Hedquist)

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