Arts & Culture

Five Iowans who are making their impression on the film industry right now

You might not see them at the Oscars tonight... But just wait a few years

Meriwether Productions Allie Jensen and her mom, Jennifer Jensen (far right), take a break from filming on their family'
Meriwether Productions Allie Jensen and her mom, Jennifer Jensen (far right), take a break from filming on their family's story, “This Day Forward,” shot in Waverly from late April through May 2017.

Although Grinnell College Alum and actor Kumail Nanjiani gave Iowa a shout out as he presented at the 90th Academy Awards the Hawkeye state is rarely regarded to as a filmmaking powerhouse. Although, that could change in the coming years...

Here are five Iowans who are making their impression in the film industry, this year and last.

Adam Orton with his film 'Amelia 2.0'

“Amelia 2.0.”, directed by Adam Orton of Cedar Rapids, preserves the essence of the original story, while giving viewers deeper visual glimpses into the lives lost and recreated for Amelia and Carter Summerland.

Their world of tender kisses and walks through idyllic meadows is torn apart when Amelia, 26, suffers a brain aneurysm, plunging her into a comatose purgatory. She’s barely alive but far from living her life as a young schoolteacher in love with her hero cop whose life is on the line every time he puts on his uniform. Both lives are put on hold as she lies in a hospital bed for two years, wide-eyed, but not seeing. Read more...


Francis Lebeda in 'The Greatest Showman'

Francis Lebeda is adding a little local flash to the dash of “The Greatest Showman” — by creating a working replica of a 19th century camera, flash units, lens cap and tripod for the feature film..

Lebeda, 80, has been making movie props for 25 years, beginning with the 1988 film “Miles from Home” starring Richard Gere and shot on location in Cedar Rapids and other Iowa sites. Lebeda went straight to the source for that assignment... Read more...

The Jensen family who inspired film 'This Day Forward'

Jennifer Jensen cried when a college friend suggested sharing on film her family’s ongoing journey with her husband’s brain cancer, diagnosed five years ago after he suffered two seizures at age 38.

“I wish we never had anything to write a movie about,” said Jensen, 43, now of Waverly, a chiropractor who operates Worldwide Wellness Center in Cedar Falls.

The 100-minute film, however, could reach worldwide audiences. Director Brian Ide of Los Angeles said it’s being pitched this week to Sony Picture’s faith-based branch, Affirm Films. Read more...


Kevin Kelley for his documentary 'Mural'

University of Iowa filmmakers traveled from Los Angeles to Venice, Italy, to document the journey of Jackson Pollock’s landmark “Mural.”

The massive 8-by-20 foot painting, commissioned by Peggy Guggenheim in 1943 and donated to the university, arrived in Iowa City in 1951. In a dramatic race to beat rising floodwaters in 2008, the painting was taken from the campus to the Figge Museum in Davenport, and has been on the move ever since. Read more...

Caroline Found who inspired movie 'The Miracle Season'

The trailer for “The Miracle Season,” a movie chronicling the death of star Iowa City West volleyball player Caroline Found and her team’s subsequent state championship, was released Thursday.

The movie is expected to be released April 13, 2018, according to its IMDb listing. It stars Helen Hunt as Found’s coach, Kathy Bresnahan, and William Hurt as Caroline’s father, Ernie. Read more...

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