Produce Iowa
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Produce Iowa

Inside “The Film Lounge” with Andrew Sherburne and Tommy Haines

Andrew Sherburne on location in Guatemala, Gold Fever, Northland Films.

As we get closer to the premiere of “The Film Lounge,” we’re continuing to get to know the Iowa filmmakers whose work you’ll see throughout the series. If you’ve missed some of the earlier filmmakers, click through our blog and get to know the rest of the featured artists.

Free preview parties are scheduled for this Sunday, Feb. 5 in Iowa City, Thursday, Feb. 9 in Des Moines and Saturday, Feb. 11 in Sioux City. IPTV, Produce Iowa and the Iowa Arts Council worked to put these together so film fans can get an early look at the series and meet filmmakers and other fans.

Andrew Sherburne.

So now let’s meet the Twin Cities natives Tommy Haines and Andrew Sherburne, who now call Iowa City home. Tommy and Andrew have worked together on nonfiction films for more than a decade. Their work examines themes of tradition and community in our rapidly changing modern world.

Their addition to “The Film Lounge” is a 2014 documentary called “Husker Sand,” which tells the real-life story of an 85-year-old farmer named Leroy Sand and his bid to become the champion husker in the “Golden Agers” division of the 2014 National Cornhusking Championship, a tradition nearly a century old.

Tommy Haines.

Their debut feature, “Pond Hockey,” was called “the best and purest hockey film ever” by ESPN anchor John Buccigross. And their 2013 film, “Gold Fever,” which examined the arrival of a multinational mining company in Guatemala, has been screened publicly in 35 countries and earned numerous awards, including the international human rights prize at Belgium’s Festival des Libertés.

The duo is currently at work on a feature documentary about a rare collection of early movie reels discovered in an Iowa farmhouse.

What kinds of films do you most often make?
We make nonfiction films, both short and feature-length.

What themes does your work deal with?
Our work focuses on the collision between tradition and modernity, slowing down to focus on those parts of our shared history that we most want to preserve.

What are you currently working on?
“Saving Brinton,” a feature film about a marvelous collection of early films and ephemera discovered and preserved by Iowa historian Michael Zahs.

Shooting cemetery scene, Saving Brinton, Northland Films.

What do you enjoy about being filmmakers in Iowa?
We like to shine a light on the amazing stories that are found here, even though many people on the coasts think of it as “flyover country.”

What is one thing you would like to change about the film scene in Iowa?
There’s talent here and an independent spirit to creating work. With more investment into our film culture, we can nurture that talent, keep it in state and harvest the fruits of that creative energy.

Originally published at on February 3, 2017.



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The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs empowers Iowa to build and sustain culturally vibrant communities by connecting Iowans to resources.