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Loras Making Impact at Cedar Rapids Film Festival

Robert Waterbury

Loras College will boast a heavy representation at the Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival. Eight films created by Loras students and alumni will hit the big screen at the annual event, which is scheduled to take place April 14-16.

“We were thrilled to hear so many Loras films were officially selected to the festival,” Craig Schaefer (‘89), professor of creative media, said. “It’s certainly a testament to our students’ commitment to produce very high quality work in such a wide breadth of genre — documentaries, narrative shorts, music videos and more.  It also shows how well our students work together to help each other succeed.  We couldn’t be happier for them.”

All films have an Iowa Connection, which could include: 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).

Eric Dean Freese, festival director, is pleased by the quantity and quality. “Receiving ninety-nine entries is super, but when we started looking through the films, we were excited by the high production values, the depth of the stories, and the diversity of subject and content. The majority were really well done, and the judges had their work cut out for them.”

The selections include short and feature length narrative, documentary, and freestyle (music video, film art and experimental) works across many genres, from students, hobbyists and seasoned professionals.

The Loras entries include:

  • Matt Williams — “Alice”
  • Colton Bachar, Jon Quinn, Michael Runde, Amber Krieg, Dana Majerczyk, Asia Singleton, Nate Kaiser, Nora Carr, Ellie Schill — “The Edge” 
  • Morgan Minear, Nate Kaiser — “Heaven’s Ranch” 
  • Jon Quinn — “Kenosha: The Shooting of Jacob Blake”
  • Ben Friedman, Michael Runde, Ben Burkholder, Pat Hunt — “One Stolen Moment”
  • Chase Alexander Guerdet, Austin Ellis, Randall Guerdet, Andrew Kilburg — “Penny Road”
  • Matt Williams, Juan Luna — “El Principe Azul (Prince Charming)” 
  • Jake Heelein, Nate Kaiser — “The Way It Was”

Each film will screen twice over the weekend, and compete for Gold and Silver, Audience Choice, and Iowa Connection Awards at the Eddy Awards Ceremony, presented by Farmers State Bank, following Saturday night’s screenings.

Student filmmakers have more to look forward to this year, as CRIFF expands to Student Cinema Sunday, where each student official selection will have at least one screening. In addition to competing for the $1000 Collins Road Theatres Scholarship, students will now have their own Audience Choice Eddy, voted on by all attendees and awarded following Sunday’s screenings. Student tickets for SCS are discounted from the regular session price.

The Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival’s mission is to encourage independent filmmakers with Iowa ties to continue improving their craft, to provide a place to specifically showcase their films, present a unique cultural event to the community, and to offer networking opportunities for the purpose of building connections between Iowa-connected filmmakers everywhere. For more information, visit

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