Iowa’s longest continuously-running film festival opens tonight in Des Moines. Named after Iowa’s state flower, the Wild Rose Independent Film Festival will run for a full eight days.

Fest co-founder Kimberly Busbee says the internationally-recognized event is based upon the best films from a wide crop of 400 submissions this year. “We’re showing 45 films from around the world, including films from Iowa, four narrative features, five documentaries in competition and two features out of competition,” Busbee says. “A lot of these films are from Europe and from Canada and from all around the world.”

She says the fest is dedicated to celebrating the vast, diverse, hilarious, bizarre, beautiful and moving art of cinema created by global independent filmmakers outside the studio system. “We’re really excited because we have more submissions every year and the production value is getting so high,” Busbee says. “It makes it really tough to make decisions. The films are looking great and a lot of them have Hollywood actors like Wilfred Brimley and Lauren Holly and Eric Roberts and Sally Kirkland and it’s getting very competitive.”

While the fest line-up features films from all over the planet, many of them have Iowa ties as they were written by, produced by, directed by or star — Iowans. “On Saturday, we’ve got Vicki Hanson’s ‘The Lift,'” Busbee says. “It was shot in Berlin and she lives in Luxembourg now. She’s originally from Iowa and it’s a brilliant black-and-white film written by Billy McKinnon, who’s associated with the film, ‘The Piano.'”

Other highlights include the historical documentary, “Lost Cinemas of Greater Des Moines,” and the bio-based documentaries, “Jens Jensen,” “The Living Green,” and “Thunder” — a non-traditional documentary about singer/songwriter Ferron. There are also workshops at the festival, including: Auditioning for Indie Film presented by St. Louis-based producer/director and filmmaker Jay Kanzler.

The 11th annual film fest runs November today through November 14th at the Fleur Cinema & Cafe in Des Moines. Learn more at