After only one year in business, FilmScene, the art house cinema located in downtown Iowa City, has made a lasting impression on local residents. The 65-seat nonprofit cinema has more than 900 members and member families, and has screened more than 200 movies to more than 30,000 moviegoers since its opening in December of 2013. We caught up with Joe Tiefenthaler, the executive director at the helm of the organization, to learn more about FilmScene.
Tell us more about FilmScene and what it’s all about.
We’re an art house cinema that has brought film back to the Iowa City community. We do things a little differently here – we’re not your typical theater. Things are more intimate. For example, our theater includes a row of couches and black leather chairs, and we offer wine and beer during our shows. We have lots of engaging events for film lovers as well as families with children.
What types of movies do you screen?
We screen a lot of art house and independent films, documentaries, international movies, as well as restored films. Our mission is to connect with the Iowa City-area community through film programming that entertains, inspires and educates. But we also have a lot of fun. Recently we celebrated the 30th anniversary of “Ghostbusters” by having a special showing, and we did the same with “Gremlins.” The two founders of our organization – Andy Brodie and Andrew Sherburne – do a fantastic job traveling to film festivals all around the country and selecting movies for the Iowa City audience. They really have an eye for it.
MidWestOne is partnering with FilmScene to sponsor a Family and Children’s Series. Can you tell us more about that?
As part of the ongoing series, we’ll be screening family-friendly movies curated by FilmScene at a low cost at the “right” time of day for families with children. We really want to bring people downtown and give them an opportunity to see a movie and enjoy everything else Iowa City has to offer. We’re really excited to be able to partner with MidWestOne to make it happen. In 2015 we’ll have 30 screening weeks throughout the year in early spring, summer, fall and winter.
FilmScene also banks with MidWestOne. What do you like about the bank?
I’ve loved working with MidWestOne. I’ve been banking with MidWestOne for 10 years personally and have had a blast working with them on a professional level, too. There isn’t a better bank around to do something like the Family and Children’s series. In fact, we gave Amy Hospodarsky, our main contact at MidWestOne, our “Visionary Supporter” award at our thank-you brunch late last year. We really appreciate all the work she’s done.