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Mission: FilmScene is Iowa City’s nonprofit cinema, working in partnership with the Bijou Film Board, a University of Iowa student organization, to present films at two locations on five permanent screens and a seasonal outdoor cinema. From our home in Downtown Iowa City, we enrich the cultural vitality of the surrounding area through community-supported programming that showcases exceptional American and international filmmaking in a vibrant, accessible, equitable, and welcoming space.  FilmScene’s mission is to challenge, inspire, educate, and entertain our diverse communities through the shared discovery of film.

Location: Iowa City (60 miles from Grinnell College)

Needs: A driving force of what we do is the joy of the community we create, and that is an underlying aspect of service work with FilmScene: to be together, be present at events, be a part of it all.  Service needs and opportunities envelop all aspects of FilmScene projects and departments, and could be in events coordination and planning, programming, projection, operations, administration, arts management, film literacy, youth education, coordinating with community partners, marketing, design and database work.  Prospective volunteers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with FilmScene, poking around the website is a great way to start, to get an idea of ways they would like to be involved.  2022 marks the inaugural year of our Film Festival, held in October, and we will need lots of volunteers for this event, assisting with organizing and presenting the festival, and joining in for the opening night film and other screenings and events.


  • One-time events: yes
  • Ongoing: yes
  • Groups possible? Yes, possibilities include working with the October Film Festival or projects with the Cinematic Arts Department

When is service needed: Year-round.  Summer is a great time to dig into a lot of the planning and preparation for the Film Festival as well as assisting with our summer programs, such as Picture Show (a film series for youth, screenings once a month on Saturday mornings), our Summer Rooftop Series (Sunday evenings), and our summer camps (which have grown to 9 weeks with various programs offered).

Number of hours: Flexible, as much or as little as is possible for the volunteer


  • In-person: yes
  • Hybrid in-person/virtual possible: yes
  • Fully virtual possible: yes


Prerequisites: A passion for the work we do at FilmScene and to be a part of our community and team. Volunteers with the summer camp only will require a background check.

Background check required: no

Equipment/logistics needed: Access to your own computer/laptop.


Training supplied: Training is dependent on the area in which you are working – we can be of service in furthering your skills.  Volunteers and interns learn by doing at FilmScene, by being embedded in the action.

Equipment or logistics supplied: Volunteers at the Film Festival (October) will receive a t-shirt!


How to apply: E-mail Andrew Sherburne at with your interests, ideas, current skills, and what skills you would like to learn and develop.  Andrew will get you connected with the department(s) that fit you.

Contact: Andrew Sherburne, Executive Director and Co-Founder, and Grinnell College alum, (319) 519-6419,


Operation information: FilmScene is more than a movie theater. Sure, we show more than 300 feature films at our two-screen venue every year, but our love of movies goes beyond the screen to filmmaker dialogues, panel discussions, and community events. It’s all part of our member-supported, mission-driven approach to cinema and our deep connection to the Eastern Iowa film community.  For over a century, film had a home in downtown Iowa City. But in 2007, the last remaining downtown cinema closed its doors. Determined to bring the film arts back to our community, Andy Brodie and Andrew Sherburne co-founded FilmScene in 2011 as a mission-driven 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. A dedicated group of Iowa City-area community members and donors joined together to raise over $175,000 and FilmScene’s Scene 1 location opened up on the Ped Mall in November 2013. Since that day, FilmScene has established outreach programs, local filmmaker showcases, community partnership opportunities, educational events, family and children’s programming…and has screened movies every single day since day one.

Our vision is a better community through the shared experience of cinema. We strengthen our mission by cultivating diversity in programming, audience, staff, and board and ensuring equitable engagement. We invest in our employees, volunteers, filmmakers, moviegoers, and supporters to honor their needs and development. We are dedicated to innovative film programming, cross-disciplinary work and an embrace of our sense of wonder. We consistently reassess our goals and organizational strategies to ensure we approach the future open to new ideas. We create connections through cinema. We partner with local and regional leaders, educators, organizations, and businesses where film programming aligns goals and enhances impact. We are equitable and celebrate our individual differences and shared experiences. We are accessible, respectful and welcoming. We curate programming that is focused on, engages, and is otherwise unavailable to the people of our communities. We champion local filmmakers and their work and nurture Iowa’s next generation of creatives. We acknowledge the powers and privileges we hold so that we may use them to create equity where there hasn’t been. We center narratives, voices, and audiences from the margins to ensure a diversity in the cinematic experience. We recognize our role as stewards of a sustainable future.

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