New Mission Creek dates and Refocus Film Festival to share September weekend

The Mission Creek Festival’s newly announced dates and the new Refocus Film Festival will share the same arts-filled weekend in September.


Nichole Harris

The marquee outside of the Englert theatre is shown with Mandolin Orange headlining on Tuesday, January 28, 2020.

Downtown Iowa City will once again be bursting with artistic life this fall with the rescheduled 2020 Mission Creek Festival and  FilmScene’s newly launched Refocus Film Festival. 

Both events will share the same weekend in September, according to a joint press release by John Schickedanz, the marketing director at the Englert Theater, and Andrew Sherburne, co-founder & interim executive director of FilmScene. 

Mission Creek Festival will host a smaller, special edition of the event Sept. 17-19, according to the press release. The festival was supposed to run April 1-4, but was unable to run in its traditional form due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

RELATED: Mission Creek Festival canceled, dates for new event to be announced next week

“Mission Creek has always been agile, so we are very excited to realign our efforts toward a fall event in celebration of the festival’s fifteenth year,” said festival founder Andre Perry in the release. 

In its reformatted form, the festival will feature writers and musicians who were slated to perform in April, along with some surprises, the statement said. Schickedanz said in an email to The Daily Iowan that Mission Creek is still trying to identify which artists will come back, but will announce the lineup in June. 

The absence of  Mission Creek Festival in April brought forth Mission Creek Underground, a six-part performance series project where artists were filmed playing their songs or reading from their works on an empty Englert Theater stage, as previously reported by The Daily Iowan. The videos will be posted between April 1-4 — the event’s original dates — on Mission Creek’s website, IGTV, and other social media. 

FilmScene’s Refocus Film Festival will present a new, multi-day film festival celebrating the art of adaptation, and will be held Sept. 18-20 in downtown Iowa City.  

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“Iowa City is ready to welcome a film festival and nurture its growth, and FilmScene is excited to embrace the craft of storytelling, lean in to our community’s love of movies, and present a great first year,” said FilmScene programming director Rebecca Fons in the release.

The original Refocus was a prominent film festival that ran from 1965 to 1979 at the University of Iowa. According to the release, the new festival will include curated short and feature film programming, multidisciplinary performances by local artists, and opportunities to connect. Passes are expected to go on sale in July.

“We’re thrilled to introduce a festival experience that is uniquely Iowa City, combining our rich literary history with our community’s recently rejuvenated appreciation for cinema,” said FilmScene co-founder Andrew Sherburne in the release.