Iowa native returns along Rural Route

Rural Route Film Festival will screen the best short films from this year's festival on Wednesday at CSPS

This scene is from a documentary film that captured some of the most spectacular Northern Lights footage ever recorded.
This scene is from a documentary film that captured some of the most spectacular Northern Lights footage ever recorded. It is one of the short films featured in the Rural Route Film Festival on Wednesday at CSPS in Cedar Rapids.

Coe College graduate and Elkader native Alan Webber returns home Wednesday via Rural Route.

The film festival he founded with fellow filmmaker and Atlantic native Mike Schmidt in 2002 — Rural Route Film Festival — will the screen the best short films from this year’s festival on Wednesday at CSPS.

Based in New York City, Webber will be on-hand to present this program, which includes an animation about a Belgian rooster, an Arctic portrait of Finnish reindeer, a bird’s-eye-view into private nests, an American Indian demolition derby drama, a German mushroom-picking mystery, documentaries on Irish turf-cutting and Oregonian Christmas tree processing, 1950s archival farm fairs, Google Earth crop circles and some of the most spectacular footage of the Northern Lights ever recorded.

The Rural Route Film Festival was created to highlight works that deal with unique people and places outside of the bustle of the city.

Watching the films selected for the festival is intended to be like choosing the road less traveled — whether it be a fictional backpacking drama set in the Peruvian Andes, a personal/experimental work about life in a Kazakh village or a documentary about an organic, Appalachian turnip farm.

Webber says his mission is to screen work about rare people and cultures, including contemporary and archival work from sources across the globe.

This year’s program sports work that has screened in top-tier festivals like Sundance, as well as quality pieces from obscure sources not found anywhere else.

Webber starting making VHS movies at an early age in Elkader. After graduating from Coe in 1998, Webber earned his master’s from New School University in New York City while apprenticing under renowned indie director Hal Hartley.

Webber’s short films include “Day is Done,” “Hawkeye Fever” and “Adventures of the Brooklyn Hipster Superhero,” along with music videos for Akron/Family, Federation X, The Silver Jews and Japanther.In the years after he started it, Webber brought the festival to Iowa often. Then in 2008 and 2009, he traveled to all seven continents while blogging and screening the Rural Route Film Festival.

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