FilmScene Make a Scene - Build a Downtown Iowa City Cinema

Iowa City is a remarkable place. But we're missing something...movies! Together we can build a new cinema and bring movies back downtown!
Iowa City FilmScene
Iowa City
United States
5 Team Members


With the incredible support of the film fans far and wide, our campaign has exceeded its goal with time still on the clock. Every extra dollar helps us curate more exciting and engaging programming and builds an operating reserve to ensure our long-term success.

We're now one of Iowa's biggest crowdfunding campaigns ever. Thank you!

FilmScene will open an intimate 80-seat cinema and lounge in the heart of downtown Iowa City this fall. This community-supported endeavor was created to meet the vocal demand of Iowa Citians and to fill a hole in our cultural fabric. We need your help to do it right!

We've come a long way and have a terrific space nearly ready to go. Now we are calling on the entire community to raise $75,000 (more would be even better!) by September 8 to help purchase the cinema and cafe equipment needed to ensure FilmScene offers a first-rate moviegoing experience.

We need your help, and in return you'll get some great rewards, plus part of every donation is tax-deductible because we're a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

Take a tour of the progress we've made with your help.

This $75,000 is part of FilmScene's overall fundraising total of more than $200,000. We're already more than halfway to our goal via personal donations and in-kind support from key project partners like the University of Iowa's Bijou Cinema and development partner Moen Group. Additionally, we've achieved significant savings where possible, such as by salvaging seats from the former Hancher Auditorium.

FilmScene Scene 1 buildout is progressing every day.

All or nothing!

Our IndieGoGo campaign is all-or-nothing, so if we don't reach our goal of $75,000 by September 8, we get nothing. Not a penny. Zip, zilch, nada. And you don't get your fantastic rewards.

That's why we're calling on all of you to help us out with a donation and by spreading the word.

An early rendering of the Scene 1 lobby space


An offer you can't refuse.

For two years we've poured thousands of hours of volunteer labor into crafting a strong organization dedicated to cinema. We've formed partnerships and raised tens of thousands of dollars. We have the space and the vision to give Iowa City a better moviegoing experience. Now all we need is you.

Your support will earn you some great rewards, but most importantly it means a fantastic new movie theater on Iowa City's Ped Mall.

We will use IndieGoGo funds to help pay for:

  • Professional digital cinema system featuring industry-standard DCP projection;
  • Audio equipment for top-notch Dolby Digital Surround Sound;
  • Dolby 3D screening technology for a shaper, clearer 3D image;
  • Cinema screen and screen frame to fill our theater with glorious images from talented filmmakers from around the globe;
  • Acoustical treatments to ensure a great-sounding and sharp-looking space.

Our seats were saved from a trip to the landfill!Our seats were saved from a trip to the landfill!

Your contributions will help turn a movie theater into a can't miss experience. More than just a place to watch a film, Scene 1 will also host:

  • A cafe with seating for 50 and projection capabilities. Grab a beer or glass of wine and discuss the film after the credits roll.
  • A rooftop patio for special events and unique outdoor screenings, a one-of-a-kind experience in Iowa City.
  • The best in American independent and international filmmaking and a variety of classic films, family films, late-night movies and genre films. 
  • Special guests and unique events, like the upcoming Alloy Orchestra performance and WALK THE LINE screening with John Carter Cash.

FilmScene's mission

FilmScene is a 501(c)(3) community-minded nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the cultural vitality of the Iowa City area through the presentation and discussion of film as an art form. 

American Winter screening with producer Devon Terrill - an Iowa City nativeAmerican Winter screening with producer Devon Terrill, an Iowa City native, copresented by FilmScene at The Englert 

With programming that entertains, inspires, and educates, FilmScene works to build and connect the community through film. In addition, FilmScene will offer programs designed to cultivate our film community, which may include filmmaker workshops, film literacy programming, and other special events.

Great fun at Starlite Cinema in City ParkGreat fun at Starlite Cinema in City Park

Towards a downtown movie theater

Over the years, downtown Iowa City has been home to numerous cinemas, but since 2007 there has been no full-time movie theater. Public interest has remained strong. In two city-sponsored surveys (in 2007 and 2011) Iowa Citians have named "movie theater" as their #1 desire for new downtown entertainment.

The ghosts of Iowa City's cinematic pastThe ghosts of Iowa City's cinematic past

Founded in the fall of 2011, FilmScene has been working for two years to deliver that experience and fill the void in our culture landscape.

We have been joined in these efforts by the Bijou Cinema, whose rich 40-year programming history will continue at FilmScene, supported by resources they have never had: full-time staff, a purpose-built space, full concessions and cafe.

This is a community effort--we need every donation. Thank you for your support!

Our intimate 80-seat theaterOur intimate 80-seat theater

Risks and Challenges

FilmScene's build-out is well underway. The theater and projection booth are nearly done, and work will continue throughout the campaign. If our Kickstarter goal is not met, we will have to rely on other forms of support such as bank financing. Extra debt is a burden on our organization and means less money is available to support programming and create memorable moviegoing experiences! We do not want to cut corners. Your help means we can build the cinema and community gathering space that Iowa City deserves. Thank you!

Find This Campaign On
raised by 739 people in 1 month
121% funded
No time left
$75,000 USD goal
Fixed Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on September 8, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $5USD
    Thank you!

    Website acknowledgement of our thanks for your donation.

    26 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2013
  • $15USD
    Just one word. Plastics.

    A FilmScene / Make a Scene sticker pack that proves you were part of a great future for Iowa City. Includes "Thank you."

    16 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2013
  • $20USD
    Where's he hidden the tickets?

    Right here, Charlie Bucket. This is simple: one ticket and a pack of stickers. A golden opportunity to help the cause and enjoy a movie on us. Includes "Thank you."

    38 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2013
  • $25USD
    Here's lookin at you kid.

    Perfect for out-of-towners or anyone with a big heart. One ticket for a special children's screening for an underserved youth plus a kids combo. Includes "Thank you."

    37 claimed
    Estimated delivery: February 2014
  • $25USD
    Grab a brew, don't cost nothin

    Well, not much at least. Your donation gets you a FilmScene pint glass, and a complimentary beverage when you come to pick it up. Includes "Thank you."

    98 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2013
  • $40USD
    Friday the 13th

    One ticket to a backers-only special screening of "Friday the 13th" on Friday, September 13th! The first show at FilmScene! If you survive the night, you also go home with a commemorative hockey mask! Includes "Thank you."

    14 out of 75 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2013
  • $40USD
    Number 5 is alive!

    A limited edition, backers only "Make a Scene" t-shirt from local printer Jonnie 5 Apparel plus the sticker pack. Wear it with pride to show you were a part of FilmScene from day one.

    17 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2013
  • $50USD
    I'll have what she's having.

    Two tickets, two drinks, and popcorn. Bring a date, bring a friend, bring your mother. It's a night out at FilmScene with the added knowledge that you helped make it all possible. Includes "Thank you."

    136 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2013
  • $75USD
    A beautiful friendship.

    A one-year standard membership to FilmScene (value: $45) plus a limited edition "Make a Scene" t-shirt from local printer Jonnie 5 Apparel to prove you were there from the beginning. Includes "Thank you."

    51 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2013
  • $100USD
    Like a box of chocolates.

    A delightful assortment of delicious FilmScene goodies: the limited edition, locally-printed "Make a Scene" t-shirt, the FilmScene pint glass and beverage, and the sticker pack all in a canvas FilmScene tote bag designed by local artist Greta Songe. Includes "Thank you."

    59 claimed
    Estimated delivery: November 2013
  • $100USD
    How do you like them apples?

    The FilmScene scholarship perfect for students (wink, wink, Mom). A one-year student membership, the limited edition, locally-printed "Make a Scene" t-shirt, 4 extra tickets for friends, and the sticker pack. Buy it as a gift and get a double "Thank you" for you and the lucky student.

    10 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2013
  • $150USD
    And your little dog, too!

    FilmScene support for the whole family: a one-year family membership to FilmScene (value: $85) plus two limited-edition, locally-printed "Make a Scene" t-shirts, sticker pack, and free admission for the whole household on your first visit. Includes "Thank you."

    29 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2013
  • $150USD
    The General

    Two up-front tickets (first three rows) to Alloy Orchestra's live performance with Buster Keaton's "The General," presented by FilmScene at The Englert on October 2. Includes behind-the-scenes meet and greet with Alloy Orchestra and a signed limited-edition event poster. Includes "Thank you."

    9 out of 25 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2013
  • $150USD
    Gonna need a bigger boat.

    Take a big bite out of FilmScene with the one-year standard membership (value: $45), plus all of the goodies in the "box of chocolates" swag bag. You're a FilmScene blockbuster supporter, street cred included. Includes "Thank you."

    18 claimed
    Estimated delivery: November 2013
  • $150USD
    Good morning Iowa City!

    Hey, this is not a test. This is rock and roll! Spend a morning as a DJ on AM-800 KXIC with morning host Jay Capron. Pick a day to join Jay for the morning show and if it’s a Tuesday – you can join the crew of the Downtown Dish! Includes FilmScene and KXIC swag too.

    0 out of 2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2013
  • $250USD
    Walk the Line

    Two tickets to an exclusive one-night-only screening of "Walk the Line" on Friday, November 8 with producer John Carter Cash, son of Johnny and June Carter Cash, in person. Includes post-screening reception and signed "Walk the Line" event poster. Includes "Thank you."

    8 out of 25 claimed
    Estimated delivery: November 2013

    Fiddler on the Roof(top)

    Pick a favorite movie and invite 40 friends to join you for a private screening on FilmScene's rooftop terrace. Includes popcorn for everyone!

    20 out of 20 claimed
    Estimated delivery: April 2014
  • $1,000USD
    If you build it...

    Be a part of FilmScene's "Founders' Circle," a select group of 100 visionary donors who can truly say "I made that happen." Your name will be honored permanently on a custom public art piece. Also includes one-year "Cinephile" level membership, t-shirt, sticker pack, commemorative first-year photo book and invitations to special events all year long. Did we mention our undying gratitude?

    26 out of 30 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2013
  • $1,000USD
    Coffee is for closers.

    Our business backer special. Treat your employees or your best customers to a night at FilmScene. Includes 40 tickets with free soda and popcorn and recognition for your business as a Founders' Circle supporter on our permanent public art piece.

    2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2013
  • $5,000USD
    I'm the king of the world!

    These titanic "Founders' Circle +" backers receive all the benefits of "If you build it..." plus named sponsorship of a curated film series or visiting filmmaker, one free venue rental, priority invitation to special events and a second year of "Cinephile" membership.

    0 out of 5 claimed
    Estimated delivery: November 2013
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