Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and Iowa Public Television call for student films

Student Film Lounge photo
photo submitted

DES MOINES – A movie career used to start with a ticket to Hollywood. Now, all that young Iowans need is a good idea and a short video.

One- to 5-minute films are being accepted now through Jan. 15 for “The Film Lounge: Student Challenge,” which encourages Iowa students in grades 7-12 to hone their creativity for the big screen. Selected films will receive statewide recognition, and their creators will be inducted next spring into The Film Lounge Academy during a red-carpet premiere and workshop with industry professionals.

“Lots of kids dream about becoming the next big YouTube star, but ‘The Film Lounge: Student Challenge’ helps them build real skills for real careers,” Produce Iowa Executive Producer Liz Gilman said. “This program blends art and technology into creative workforce training right here in Iowa.”

Now in its second year, “The Film Lounge: Student Challenge” is a spin-off of the popular series “The Film Lounge,” which showcases short independent films by Iowa artists. Both programs are produced by Iowa Public Television in partnership with the Iowa Arts Council and Produce Iowa, both divisions of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

To apply for the Student Challenge, students can submit short films in any genre, including documentaries, narrative fiction, animation and music video. The deadline is Jan. 15, and all applicants will be notified by March 2.

All of the selected filmmakers will be invited to attend The Film Lounge Workshop and Watch Party on April 25 at the IPTV studios in Johnston. The workshop is an exclusive opportunity for students to meet other filmmakers and learn behind-the-scenes tips from film industry professionals.

Afterward, students will be able to watch their films on the big screen at a red-carpet premiere open to friends, family, cast, crew and the general public. They will also learn which film may be chosen to air statewide on IPTV.

The student filmmakers will also have opportunities to job-shadow IPTV film crews and share their experience through blogs and social media.

“‘The Film Lounge: Student Challenge’ offers a chance to see how filmmaking and television production actually work,” IPTV Producer Chuck Czech said. “It gives students a head start toward higher education or a career.”

For details about the program, including guidelines for submitting films, visit