The Tipton, Iowa, Hardacre Film Festival is taking it outside - and showing it in three dimensions.

The festival, taking place Friday and Saturday, Aug. 5-6, will have its first outdoor showing, as well as its first 3-D movie.

"Every chance we can get to give attendees a more interactive experience, we're gonna go for it," festival director Will Valet said.

In its 14th year, Hardacre, with showings at the Hardacre Theatre in downtown Tipton, is the longest-running film festival in the state.

The outdoor showing, at 10:15 p.m. Friday, is the documentary "The City Dark," perhaps an appropriate choice.

"City Dark" is directed by Ian Cheney, who was the co-creator of the documentary "King Corn." Its cinematographer is Taylor Gentry of Bettendorf.

"They created a really spectacular-looking film about the disappearance of the night sky in urban areas and the cultural and historical importance of being able to see the stars," Valet said.

"There's a whole generation of kids that are growing up now and they can't see the stars because of the light pollution," he added. "This is kind of a personal story from Ian's point of view on why that's important."

The documentary won an award for music and score at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas, and it was the winner of the grand jury prize at the Yale University Environmental Film Festival.

Audience members are asked to bring their own chairs and blankets for the outdoor show, Valet added.

The 3-D film is "The Magic Man," a short silent movie-style offering about a magician who turns to the dark arts.

Out of the six feature films, five are documentaries, with subject matters including people obsessed with breaking world records; a profile of author Normal Mailer; a young lesbian couple from Philadelphia getting married in Ames, Iowa; and a "romantic comedy documentary" about a man searching for love with advice from politician Newt Gingrich, actress Zooey Deschanel and National Public Radio show host Ira Glass.

The lone narrative feature is "Boy Wonder," told in comic book style, about a teenage boy who is obsessed with solving the murder of his mother.

Hardacre received 170 entries this year, up from the usual 130-150, from 15 countries.

"We had a lot to choose from and it was hard to narrow down this year," Valet said.

Hardacre has become a popular festival, he said, because of its good reputation among filmmakers, the way it showcases films, the diversity of entries and its attentive audiences.

"Really, it's the crowd that makes the reputation, and the crowds we pull each year are very inquisitive, very friendly," he added.

 

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