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Arts Festival Announces 2019 Award Winners


The 2019 Des Moines Arts Festival is pleased to announce the 2019 award winners. Mixed media artist, Amanda Outcalt from Norfolk, VA was selected as this year’s Best of Show for the second year in a row. Anna Segner (Iowa State University, Ames) was selected as the Leysens Family Best of Emerging Artist award winner.


Best of Show
Amanda Outcalt, Mixed Media

Leysens Family Award for Best Emerging Iowa Artist
Anna Segner, Mixed Media

Awards of Excellence
Chris Dahlquist, Photography
Scott Hildebrandt, Sculptures
Nicario Jimenez, Mixed Media
Sue Mersman, Wood
Marina Terauds, Printmaking

Juror Awards
Joaquim Knill, Painting
Olga Mihaylova, Jewelry
Timothy White, Mixed Media

The jury for the Interrobang Film Festival also announces their 2019 award winners.


Best Narrative Series
Director: Hajooj Kuka
Country of Origin: Sudan
Running Time: 01:18:00
Synopsis: Adnan is a Sudanese revolutionary who is considered a war hero. His love for his AK47 rifle is equaled only by his feelings for Lina, his long-suffering sweetheart. When Adnan is late to return to his military unit after his leave, army commander Blues launches a kasha: the rounding up and arresting of truant soldiers. Adnan is caught off guard and makes a run for it with pacifist Absi. The two unlikely friends plot ways to reunite Adnan with his gun – and with Lina – while avoiding their fellow soldiers. Through a series of wry and humorous incidents over 24 hours, we explore life and ideology in rebel-held areas of Sudan.

Best Documentary
Director: Vanessa McNeal
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 00:52:29
Synopsis: Gridshock is an investigative documentary exposing the hidden and disturbing reality behind the sex trafficking demand in Iowa. This riveting documentary shines a light on buyers and how they fuel the demand for exploitation. The film seeks to learn who the buyers are and why there is a culture of impunity against them. In search of these answers, filmmaker Vanessa McNeal interviews survivors, local and federal law enforcement, politicians, and a recovering sex addict who describes his willingness to pay $5,000 for sex. In this riveting and truly disturbing film what you think you know about sex trafficking will be challenged. What is hidden will come to light, even in good ol’ Iowa.

Best Narrative Short
How to be Alone
Director: Kate Trefry
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 00:12:58
Synopsis: How To Be Alone follows LUCY, as she struggles to survive an increasingly bizarre and horrifying night. When her husband JACK leaves for the hospital graveyard shift, Lucy is left alone in the company of a particularly menacing kitchen cabinet, which she is convinced contains all her most secret fears. As the phobias begin to manifest and attack her, she must fight for control of her mind, and ultimately her life.

Best Documentary Short
Ferryman at the Wall
Director: David Freid
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time 00:15:37
Synopsis: A visitor’s guide to America’s great big border wall.

Originally proposed as an international peace park with Mexico, Big Bend, Texas has a unique relationship with its southern neighbor. For the past 40 years, Mike Davidson has been ferrying tourists across the Rio Grande for a little taste of Mexican life — but now a great big border wall might divide the park.

Best Web Series Pilot
The Dropoff
Director: Tori Garrett
Country of Origin: Australia
Running Time: 00:08:18
Synopsis: A short-form comedy exploring that strange bubble of time every school day known as The Drop Off.

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