The Film Academy Watch Party goes virtual

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and Iowa PBS announce that Aleesa Lavrenko of Postville High School has won the 2020 The Film Lounge: Student Challenge.

Lavrenko's three-minute film, Pressure Pointe – A Ballet Film, captures the thrill and motivation of ballet, including the preparation that leads up to a performance. Pressure Pointe" and 12 other student films will be showcased during the Film Academy Watch Party on OVEE at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 25.

"Most students have become familiar and comfortable with digital platforms such as YouTube and often have dreams of creating and posting their own films and videos," said Veronica O'Hern of the Iowa Arts Council. "The Film Lounge: Student Challenge encourages them to blend their artistic visions with technology and sets them on a career path in the creative workforce right here in Iowa."  

Now in its second year, the program 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 PBS in partnership with the Iowa Arts Council and Produce Iowa, both divisions of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

The program encourages Iowa students in grades 7-12 to practice their creativity and technology skills on short films ranging from one to five minutes in length. The films can be any genre, including documentaries, narrative fiction, animation and music videos. Films are selected for statewide recognition, and their creators are inducted into The Film Lounge Academy. The selected filmmakers and their crews are also invited to learn behind-the-scenes tips and discuss film production with local industry professionals. The list of student films selected for the Film Academy Watch Party is below:

Ankeny Centennial High School  The Parabox by Connor Henzi, Andrew Mumm, Alaina Schafroth and Carter Dirksen. This horror/suspense film finds two classmates who get stuck in an alternate universe. 

(Cedar Rapids) Marion Home School Assistance Program  The Babysitter by Naomi Pumphrey. Created for kids, teens and adults, this film encourages viewers to be grateful for their blessings.

Cedar Rapids Washington High School/Homeschool LeVake Family Trick Shots by Palmer LeVake. This film shows people doing everyday things in amazing ways.

(Des Moines) Callanan Middle School and Central Academy Best Friends Forever by Lex Brooks, Mike Hodges and Leo Brooks. Best friends spend all their time together learning how to trust and depend on each other – until one of them dies due to unknown circumstances.

Des Moines Lincoln High School Creative Contemporary Movement at Central Academy by Myles Bodtke. This documentary showcases the Creative Contemporary Movement course at Central Academy.

Des Moines Roosevelt High School Boatsong by Andrew Hilmes and Jolie Seitz. A music video about realizing the mess you have created and facing the reality surrounding you.

Des Moines Roosevelt High School Late Bus by Niko Fortune. A stop-motion animation about problem solving in a windy situation. 

Des Moines Roosevelt High School The Rocket by Abraham Schaecher. A stop-motion animation about a rocket launch and the challenges the rocket faces during its journey into the unknown.

Eddyville Blakesburg Fremont High School My Hero by Allison Walker. In a town full of superheroes, this family battles separation from their father as a new father-figure emerges.

(Marion) Vernon Middle School   Power Music Video by Autumn Eiben, Tabetha Egan and Samantha Tyo. A music video that says guys don't need all the credit – women do great things and get overlooked for their work.

Oskaloosa High School  My Broken Mind by Grace Richardson. This realistic fiction opens the viewer's heart to love while raising awareness about abuse in relationships.

Postville High School  Pressure Pointe - A Ballet Film by  Aleesa Lavrenko. This art film captures the thrill and motivation of ballet while showing the preparation that leads up to a performance.

Waukee High School The Nosebleed by Paige Fahrenkrug, Anna Albaugh, Xyola Busch, Sarah Kelly and Ayla Schiller. In this short comedy, a young woman devises a creative solution when she gets a nosebleed before an important job interview.

More information about this special program, as well as past episodes, can be found at