Iowa PBS presents season 4 of The Film Lounge

It’s time to pop some popcorn. Iowa PBS announced today the upcoming fourth season of The Film Lounge, a series showcasing the work of Iowa filmmakers. This season includes two new episodes featuring 10 short films with varying styles and subject matters. The Film Lounge season 4 covers everything from touching dramas to thought-provoking documentaries — even an Alfred Hitchcock-style thriller and a science fiction story in the vein of Black Mirror.

“The quality of submissions continues to be extremely high,” said Iowa PBS Manager of Local Programming Chuck Czech. “Viewers will be impressed with the look and feel of these short films. They’re genuinely moving — a real cinema experience.”

The Film Lounge: Episode 401 will premiere Saturday, January 25 at 11 p.m. and rebroadcast Sunday, January 26 at 10 p.m. on statewide Iowa PBS. Episode 402 will premiere Saturday, February 1 at 11 p.m. and repeat Sunday, February 2. Both episodes will be available to stream on and the PBS Video app.

This season of The Film Lounge features the following films:

  • “Unscripted,” by Patrick Albanese of Clive, is a comedy that pokes fun at the concept of over-produced documentaries. Hence, the film is a scripted documentary about an unscripted documentary.
  • “FLAVA,” by Tarrell Christie of West Des Moines, is a sci-fi dramedy set in the distant future where a mega superstar sells weapons to citizens. It also shows how capitalism uses tragedy, stereotypes and other negative factors to sell products.
  • “Soft Eyes,” by Sam Fathallah of Cedar Rapids, is a short documentary about a nature photographer. The film explores the subconscious mind and the art-making process.
  • “Honey Do,” by Stephen Folker of Davenport, is a short art-house film about a man who sets out to complete his partner’s “honey do” list and learns some lessons along the way.
  • “Safe,” by Benjamin Handler of Cedar Rapids, follows Soren and Abbie as they go to the woods for a fun afternoon, except Soren has a secret grudge and a wicked sense of games to play.
  • “Diana,” by Traci Hercher of Iowa City, follows Chicago-based healer Diana Harper. She and the August 2017 total solar eclipse align in this 8-minute short experimental portrait film as the title character undergoes an immense transition in her life and practice.
  • “Note to Self,” by Justin Norman of Des Moines, features a man making a desperate attempt to fix his life by sending a message to his former self.
  • “Problems on the Line,” by Philip Rabalais of Iowa City, follows an unnamed protagonist making a series of unsettling and unsuccessful phone calls that are met with silence, noise and nonsense. In desperation, he dials the authorities only to find himself confronted with the worst possible outcome.
  • “At the Violet Hour,” by Spencer Smith of Des Moines, is influenced by Terrence Malick’s “Tree of Life” and the Steve McQueen film, “Shame.” This experimental narrative short film tackles addiction, depression and loss from personal and universal perspectives.
  • “Concourses and Megastructures,” by Stefanie Toftey of Pella, is a New York City story about solitude. This film is a day-in-the-life portrait of a writer working on love stories inspired by architecture and the memories of a past relationship that fuel and torture him.

The Film Lounge is produced by Iowa PBS in partnership with the Iowa Arts Council and Produce Iowa, both divisions of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. The organizations select entries based on technical and artistic merit, and all featured filmmakers are required to be living and working in Iowa to be selected for broadcast. Each one-hour episode includes a collection of films 2-20 minutes in length representing a range of artistic forms, filmmakers discussing their work as an introduction to each film, and a spotlight feature highlighting active filmmaking projects.

 “We gave a little more time this year for filmmakers to share their backgrounds and comment on the inspiration behind their films,” said Czech. “They really opened up about what it takes to produce a quality short film. Our viewers will be treated to some very interesting perspectives on how creative minds work.”

Film buffs can get a sneak peek of The Film Lounge season 4 during watch parties before it airs on television. Watch parties will be held in Iowa City on Saturday, January 18 and in Des Moines on Thursday, January 23. More information can be found at

Iowa filmmakers may submit short films to The Film Lounge season 5 between February 1 and June 1, 2020. Watch past episodes and find more information at

Programming support for The Film Lounge is provided by Produce Iowa-State Office of Media Production and the Iowa Arts Council, divisions of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. Visit for more information.