Maggie Grace, Dana Snyder Among Special Guests of Julien Dubuque International Film Festival


This is the third installment of a weekly #FilmFestivalFriday series focusing on the sixth annual Julien Dubuque International Film Festival, which is April 20-23 in downtown Dubuque. Runde Auto Group is proud to be the driving force behind JDIFF… from the start! 

The Julien Dubuque International Film Festival will welcome filmmakers and special guests from all over the world. Here are some of this year’s notable guests:

maggie grace

Maggie Grace

Maggie Grace (Taken, Lost, Twilight: Breaking Dawn 1 & 2) will attend her screening of the nominated film “The Scent of Rain and Lightning.” She will be accompanied by director Blake Robbins (The Office, Oz, The Sublime and Beautiful).

The 1-hour, 40-min mystery drama tells the story of a young woman who learns her parents’ killer has been released from prison. She is forced to revisit old wounds and discovers the destructive power of hate and the true cost of family secrets.

The film is based on the novel of the same name by Nancy Pickard. It will screen at noon on Sunday, April 23, at Five Flags Theater, 405 Main St.

Brian Studler (writer, The Blacklist, TripTank), and Zak Knutson (director, Milius, Marvel 75 Years) will attend the festival for a Coffee Talk at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 22, at Five Flags Promenade, 405 Main St. They will discuss their experiences in the film industry.

dana snyder

Dana Snyder

Dana Snyder (Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Thundermans, Squidbillies, Drunk on Disney podcast) and Guy Hutchinson (Drunk on Disney podcast, The Adventure Club podcast, author of Sesame Place) will be on hand for both the Drunk on Disney event (9:30 p.m. to midnight at the Blue Moon Room in the Holiday Inn, 450 Main St.) and to host Awards Night (8 p.m. Saturday, April 22, at Five Flags Theater).

Guy Hutchinson

Guy Hutchinson

The festival will provide plenty of opportunities for attendees to meet industry professionals and for filmmakers to network with their peers.

New this year are informal Coffee Talks, which provide a more intimate environment for discussion than a standard panel. This year’s scheduled Coffee Talks include:

  • Shanda Munson

    Shanda Lee Munson

    “Meet Shanda” A conversation with local filmmaker, Shanda Lee Munson, who has produced and acted in films, including “Remember the Titans.” 9:30 a.m. Friday, April 21, Java Joe’s, 342 Main St.

  • “Finding the Balance”: A discussion about finding the delicate balance when creating a film about a sensitive and important topic. Featuring filmmakers of “Far From the Tree,” director Dave Thomas and producer Carina Rush. 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 21, Java Joe’s, 342 Main St.
  • “Les is More: A celebration of documentary filmmaker Les Blank”: A discussion about the legacy of Les Blank featuring his son, filmmaker Harrod Blank and film curator Greg Hamilton. 9:30 a.m. Saturday, April 22 at Five Flags Promenade.
  • “Meet Brian and Zak”: A film industry discussion with Brian Studler, writer for
    Zak Knutson

    Zak Knutson

    NBC’s “The Blacklist” and “TripTank,” and Zak Knutson, director of “Milius,” “Marvel 75 Years,” and more. 11:30 a.m. Saturday, April 22, Five Flags Promenade.

  •  “Meet the JDIFF Jurors”: Featuring the 2017 Jury, including Randy Tat, Greg Hamilton, Maria Collis, and Ron Saks. 9:30 a.m. Sunday, April 23 at Java Joe’s.

This year’s panels include:

  • “Making, Distributing, Marketing, and Watching: What’s the Impact of Digital?”5:30-6:30 p.m. Friday, April 21, at Five Flags Bijou Room. The moderator will be Eric B. Stein, founder of Impact Global Media. Panelists
    Eric B Stein

    Eric B. Stein

    include: Dion Eusepi, associate director of Cloud Foundry Services and Digital Engagement Practice at Cognizant; Matthew Stibbe, eCommerce/Digital & Growth Marketing Professional at the University of Cincinnati; and Michael Dunaway, Editor of Paste Magazine.

The Julien Dubuque International Film Festival, set for April 20-23 in downtown Dubuque, will feature more than 100 documentaries, features, and shorts. They were selected out of more than 685 submissions from over 40 countries.

For more information, visit

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