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'The Film Lounge: Student Challenge' Now Open for Film Submissions

Oct 1, 2019

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

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and its three divisions – the Iowa Arts Council, Produce Iowa - State Office of Media Production and the State Historical Society of Iowa – empower Iowa to build and sustain culturally vibrant communities by connecting Iowans to the people, places and points of pride that define our state. The department’s work enables Iowa to be recognized as a state that fosters creativity and serves as a catalyst for innovation where the stories of Iowa are preserved and communicated to connect past, present and future generations. 

Iowa Public Television is Iowa's only statewide television network. IPTV’s mission to educate, inform, enrich and inspire Iowans guides its quality, noncommercial programming that tells Iowa's stories like no one else can. Four statewide, public channels offer programs of lasting value to Iowans, regardless of where they live or what they can afford: IPTV (.1), IPTV KIDS (.2), IPTV WORLD (.3) and IPTV Create (.4) on Channel 11, Des Moines; Channel 12, Iowa City; Channel 21, Fort Dodge; Channel 24, Mason City; Channel 27, Sioux City; Channel 32, Waterloo; Channel 32, Council Bluffs; Channel 36, Davenport; Channel 36, Red Oak. More information can be found at