An Iowa City filmmaker is finally seeing his creation debut in his homestate!

Iowa City filmmaker Mokotsi Rukundo is the screenwriter behind a movie called East of Middle West. The film is a crime-drama revolving around a runaway teenager and a widowed father seeking redemption from their dark past, according to the plot on IMDb.

Rukundo's film, which was directed by Brian Lucke Anderson (with whom Rukundo has collaborated in the past), is set to make its debut at FilmScene in Iowa City on April 2nd, 2022. The film will be screened at 4pm on April 2nd and 6:30pm on April 3rd. The latter showing has already sold out!

The drama was filmed in rural Iowa in 2021, with Rukundo finding inspiration for the story in the real-life story of Victoria Ruvolo. A New York woman, Ruvolo received significant press coverage in 2005 after an 18-year-old threw a frozen turkey into her windshield as she was driving. Despite breaking nearly every bone in her face and narrowly avoiding death, Ruvolo openly pled for leniency in the teen's sentencing.

East of Middle West has already garnered some notable hardware across a number of film festivals. It took home best feature awards at the Sarasota and Chelsea International Film Festivals, to name a couple. The film's star, Carson MacCormac, also received accolades for his performance, as did supporting actor Joris Jarsky.

This is substantial given it's Rukundo's feature-film debut.

After the film finishes its weekend showings in Iowa City, East of Middle West heads to California, where it will play in Pasadena and Santa Monica. A digital release is planned once its limited theatrical run concludes.

This is an exciting development for one of Iowa's very own, as Rukundo makes waves with his first major project. It's difficult enough to make a movie and get it into multiple different festivals. To accomplish such a feat and take home awards across various festivals in a barrage of major categories is nothing short of commendable.

You can find more information on the film, its cast, and future screenings on East of Middle West's official website!

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