Annual film festival expands to incorporate music

Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

MUSCATINE, Iowa–For six years, the Muscatine Independent Film Festival has drawn both amateur and professional film makers alike to the city, filling a weekend with some of the best regional independent films produced. Though many film makers and enthusiasts came from out of town, organizer Chad Bishop found that fewer locals attended the event than he expected. To draw in a larger crowd and to celebrate artists of many sorts, this year’s event has come back as the Muscatine Independent Music and Film Festival, and Bishop has big plans to make it a big hit Nov. 4 and 5.

As Bishop prepared to to bring back the festival after a two year COVID-19 hiatus, he looked to make it accessible to as many art lovers as possible. To that end, he decided to add a music portion to the event. “Music is for everyone–it’s universal and connects everyone,” he stated. By adding in a music portion, Bishop believes, “you will get more people involved and you get more music videos drawn in and maybe even performing.”

The first evening of the festival, starting at 4 p.m. Nov. 4 at the Muscatine Performing Arts Center (the former Central Middle School Auditorium) at 901 Cedar Street in Muscatine, opens with the student film block featuring the work of up and coming film makers, including students at Muscatine Community College. Following the student films, movie goers can enjoy micro shorts, sci-fi and experimental films, and murder and mayhem. From 8 p.m. to midnight at the Missipi Brew at 107 Iowa Avenue, Muscatine, Artists, JMJ, Edward Floyd, DeAuntre Smith, and the Masked Singer will perform. Festival attendees can also enjoy the after party starting at 9 p.m.

An audience at Muscatine Community College enjoying a previous Muscatine Independent Film Festival. Photo courtesy Chad Bishop.

The following day, film festival attendees will get to sample a wide selection of new films, including the diversity film block as well as a combination of music videos and live performances. Following the final film, a jury of judges will present several different best of awards, a judge’s choice award, and a viewer’s choice award. The music will continue at the Brew with sets by headliner Random Tanner, Murnau, BNC w/LovaB, Joubb, and Hey Zeus. An after party will cap off the night’s celebration as well.

With so much to look forward to, curious film an music fans can purchase one and two day festival passes, one and two day music only passes, and VIP passes on the Muscatine Independent Music and Film Festival’s website or at the door. Bishop encourages those who want the VIP experience, including space in the green rooms and limo services between venues, to purchase tickets in advance as they could sell out.

A chance to experience local art at its finest, take in the ambiance of the Muscatine Performing Arts Center while seeing films on an enormous screen, and listening to original music not often found in smaller cities, Bishop believes this event will appeal to just about any art lover. He welcomes everyone from near and far to, “just sit back, watch a film, and enjoy the space.”

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