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Independent Festival Draws Crowds, Celebrates Iowans in Film

Independent filmmakers showcased their work at the annual Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival at the Collins Road The
Independent filmmakers showcased their work at the annual Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival at the Collins Road Theaters. The all day event started on April 1 and ends April 2. Photographed Saturday, April 2, 2011, in Cedar Rapids. (Tiffany Hung/SourceMedia Group News)

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Lights. Camera. Action.

The 2011 Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival kicked off its 11th year this weekend. Festival goers can enjoy films that have strong Iowa ties.

“It’s very much like a family reunion type deal where you show up and it’s like hey it’s everybody I know for last year,” said CRIFF Executive Director Scott Chrisman.

After more than a decade, the festival and the Iowa connection continues to grow.

“You went to school here, you were born here, something that really has instilled what it means to live here,” said Chrisman.

Marion’s own actress Briana English is back after following her dreams to Los Angeles. She’s starring in “The Country Pirates.”

“I play a young girl who’s been orphaned, who is a bored young lady  on a cross country trip with her uncle,” actress Briana English from Marion.

For English, the festival is an opportunity for locals to show their talents.

“To limit it for them to be able to show their films from Iowa into the world is really amazing,” said English.

She says the festival is one of the only ways her family and friends can see her work.

“To have my family here to watch it was a dream come true. My grandpa was able to watch it and I don’t know if he’ll ever be able to make it to LA to see something,” said English.

The festival features around 40 movies. But it’s more than just selling tickets and popcorn. Keeping the films homegrown helps support the state’s economy.

“You’ve got hundreds of people involved they all need to eat, stay somewhere like hotel rooms, they’ve got various things they need to rent and otherwise pay for in the state,” said Chrisman.

You can still catch movies Saturday night at the Film Festival at the Collins Road Theaters on Twixt Town Road. The filmmakers have a special opportunity for one-on-one critiques with festival judges on Sunday.You can visit www.crifm.org, the official website of the Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival, to find out more details, including ticket information and show times.

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