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A new name, additional days, guest speakers and throwbacks to the era of silent movies are just a few of the expansions in this year’s Sioux City International Film Festival.

The previously named Siouxland Film Festival officially kicks off Feb. 19 with “Silent Film Sunday,” a new family-friendly event where several short films will be screened along with the Buster Keaton comedy “Sherlock Jr.” The silent films will be accompanied by Jeff Rapsis on the Mighty Wurlitzer organ.

After a few days, the Sioux City International Film Festival will recommence on Feb. 22-25 with documentaries, horror flicks, “short short” films and movies by filmmakers from around the Midwest.

Guest speakers include Sioux City photographer and videographer George Lindblade, Sioux City filmmaker and TV producer Jason Lees, Writers Guild of America member Adam Gonshowrowski and the Iowa-born creative director of "Funny or Die," Andrew Steele, who was also a former head writer for “Saturday Night Live.”

An awards ceremony will be held on the last day of the Sioux City International Film Festival. Audience members will judge each entry in the four movie categories, determining which filmmakers will receive top honors. Winners can earn up to $1,000 for each category.

The board announced in a press release on Jan. 25 that 67 short films from 12 countries and 17 states have been selected to screen at the 13th annual festival. Tim Bottaro, president of the board and festival co-founder, said some movies are “from places as far flung as Rwanda, Guam, Romania, Australia and Finland.”

Furthermore, the quality of the movies, Bottario added, is “the best we’ve ever seen in our 13 years of putting on this festival.”

Filmmakers were notified which movies made the cut by Wednesday.

In 2015, the Sioux City International Film Festival spanned three days and took place in various venues throughout the downtown area. A year later the festival extended its stay to four days and showed 40 films.


Weekender reporter

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