This is your
Des Moines-Ames Classroom

Real filmmaking education. Real film industry connections.

An Immersive
Film Education

From directing to producing to editing and screenwriting, our mentor-based programs avoid the unnecessary costs and unrelated requirements of typical schools. Work directly with accomplished industry veteran filmmakers at one of our fully-equipped film production companies across the country.

Programs

You will study inside a real film production company in your city as you develop your movie idea with a legendary to filmmaker. Then you will fly to Los Angeles or New York to pitch your idea to an executive that could buy or get your movie idea made.

Director / Producer / Screenwriter Details

The screenwriter is the person who creates, takes, or adapts an idea and formulates a screenplay. Without the writer, there would be no movie. Period. He or she is the starting gate. He or she is the person that starts the ball rolling down the hill.

Screenwriting Details

In many ways the film editor is the most misunderstood of all film professionals. Often considered just a film technician, a good editor is, without doubt, much more than that. He or she is also a qualified storyteller of the highest order.

Film Editing Details

The cinematographer is literally the set ‘magician.’ DPs are responsible for the technological wizardry to help create the needed light, while at the same time also having the keen sensibility to shape the light for the greatest artistic effect.

Cinematography Details

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Des Moines-Ames

Film Connection Film Institute

Our "Near Me" Des Moines-Ames Filmmaker Locations

  • Beaverdale
  • Meredith
  • Magnolia Park
  • Drake
  • Capitol East
  • Sterling Trace
  • Laurel Hill
  • East Village
  • Jordan Park
  • South Park
  • Allenview
  • Tullamore Glenn
  • Helena
  • Northridge
  • Edwards
  • Marquisville
  • Pleasant Hill
  • West Des Moines
  • Urbandale
  • Ankeny
  • Elkhart
  • Cambridge
  • Huxley
Schedule a Tour
Schedule a Tour

Visit a Film Production Company
In Des Moines-Ames

Get started with a tour of one of our Iowa apprenticeship locations. Or call us for more information at 800-295-4433


About Our Des Moines-Ames Film School

Our fully-immersive curriculum
covers all of the following:

Building Relationships

Learning filmmaking in the real world with the Film Connection mentoring approach makes building relationships in the film industry is a daily occurrence.

On-Set Etiquette

Knowing how to handle yourself on the set is a prerequisite to a successful career in filmmaking—your mentor will guide you through proper etiquette during real film shoots.

Hardware and Equipment

Film Connection mentors exist in the real world where the competition is fierce. Having the latest gear is essential to their success which gives you access to the latest hardware.

Making Movies

Isn’t the whole point of going to film school to learn how to make movies—especially YOUR movie? The Film Connection curriculum is designed around this concept from start to finish.

What is the Next Step?

We get it. This isn’t your normal four-year college or trade school. We’re different, even innovative and you need to understand more before you apply. Here’s how you can get more info:


Request Information Choose Your Location Call Admissions

Meet our Faculty

Why learn from teachers when you can learn from the professionals?

Ryan E. Heppe Des Moines-Ames Mentor

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Ryan E. Heppe Des Moines-Ames Mentor

Background

During his tenure at CCH, Heppe was hired by legendary producer David Foster (The Getaway, Short Circuit, The Mask of Zorro) and quickly climbed to the position of Head of Development where he became involved with Foster’s productions: Collateral Damage starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hart’s War starring Bruce Willis and Colin Farrell, and The Core starring Aaron Eckhart and Hilary Swank.

As a hyphenate Producer/Director/Writer/Actor, some of Heppe’s work includes: Production of the docu-drama The Magic Was In The Music, a remake of Short Circuit, adaptations of the 80’s television mini-series V and cop series T.J. Hooker, among others. As an actor, he’s starred in such stage productions as You Can’t Take It With You, Life On The Bowery, Dracula and Picnic at Hanging Rock – several of which he directed. In the world of VO, he’s lent his voice to numerous commercials, both national and regional, and performs several characters on the animated series DaGeDar.

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Wade Marshall Des Moines-Ames Mentor

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Wade Marshall Des Moines-Ames Mentor

Background

Since 2007, Millennium Studios has been servicing productions in Shreveport and throughout Louisiana.

Credits: True Blood, The Expendables 3, Olympus Has Fallen

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Peter Foldy Des Moines-Ames Mentor

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Peter Foldy Des Moines-Ames Mentor

Background

“For a fraction of the price of a university course, students of the Radio, Record and Film Connection receive one-on-one consultation and mentoring from a seasoned film professional. It is an opportunity for an exchange of meaningful ideas and for some, even a chance to network, an essential requirement to make an in-road in the film business.”

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Eric Abrams Des Moines-Ames Mentor

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Eric Abrams Des Moines-Ames Mentor

Background

“Unlike many programs that stress theory over doing, our goal is for our students to have completed a 1st draft of a screenplay or be well on their way in 10 sessions.”
 
Credits I’m proud of: “Married…With Children,” “Gary & Mike,” ‘Live & Maddie,” and an unaired Muppet pilot.

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Monty Mickelson Des Moines-Ames Mentor

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Monty Mickelson Des Moines-Ames Mentor

Background

Freelance Journalist, Financial Writer, Corporate Communications Copywriter, Writer of Corporate Training and Life Skills Videoscripts, Public Relations Account Manager, Special Events Promotion and Media Wrangling, Award-Winning Published Novelist, and Feature Film Screenwriter.

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Daniela Larsen Des Moines-Ames Mentor

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Daniela Larsen Des Moines-Ames Mentor

Background

Daniela Larsen is the former CEO of Creative Media Education. She created and expanded education & certifications in Digital Media, Film, Cyber Security, Leadership and Technology. She also developed strategic partnerships in the private and public sector to make this education and training accessible to the public. Finally, she used digital media, documentaries and non profit experience to create opportunities for cause marketing, tell the stories that have real impact and increase the reach of online education to the remotest places in the world. She is currently the Executive Director & Founder of Small Candles Education & Economic Development, the CEO of the Navanas Institute and a Certified Partner for Infusionsoft.

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Jim Fogarty Des Moines-Ames Mentor

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Jim Fogarty Des Moines-Ames Mentor

Background

Jim Fogarty is a writer and producer, known for Waxing Gibbous (2001), Coffee & Donuts (2007) and A Legacy Reborn: The Rebirth of the W.D. Packard Music Hall (2014).

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Dale DeToni Des Moines-Ames Mentor

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Dale DeToni Des Moines-Ames Mentor

Background

Owner/Producer, Dale DeToni, began his career thirty years ago when he brought his experience and education from some of Chicago’s largest recording studios to Springfield, with the dream of starting his own media production company.

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Jon Reiss Des Moines-Ames Mentor

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Jon Reiss Des Moines-Ames Mentor

Background

Named one of “10 Digital Directors to Watch” by Daily Variety, Jon Reiss is also critically acclaimed filmmaker whose experience releasing his feature Bomb It with a hybrid strategy was the inspiration for writing Think Outside the Box Office: The Ultimate Guide to Film Distribution and Marketing in the Digital Era (TOTBO), the first step-by-step guide for filmmakers to distribute and market their films.  He also co-wrote Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul and Selling Your Film Outside the US.   He also teaches at the Film Directing Program at Cal Arts.

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Rick Dahl Des Moines-Ames Mentor

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Rick Dahl Des Moines-Ames Mentor

Background

I’ve written for many of the major studios and networks. My first movie, “Red Rock West,” was nominated for Best Screenplay by the Independent Spirit Awards. 

I think this program is fantastic. I get to spend an hour a week, one-on-one with my students. We read over their material carefully. It affords me the opportunity to dig deep and get into the details of screenwriting – a deceptively complicated craft. We can cover various aspects of formatting, different styles of writing and how they impact the reader – which ultimately determines the filmic outcome and audience sees on screen.

The time allows me to get know my students so that I’m able to help them put some part of themselves into their stories. 

Once you get past the basics, screenwriting is about story. And we all have one to tell. The more personal that is, the more impact it will have.

The terrific thing I get to experience with Film Connection, because of the one-on-one time I have with my students, is the growth they achieve in their writing

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Jana Sue Memel Des Moines-Ames Mentor

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Jana Sue Memel Des Moines-Ames Mentor

Background

“Students at the Film Connection receive the extraordinary benefit of a one-on-one mentoring relationship with highly experienced industry professionals. What an amazing way to learn your craft. Nothing could be better.” — Jana Sue Memel,

Films Jana have produced have been nominated for eleven Oscars and won three. They have also won Emmy’s, Director and Writer Guild Awards and numerous film festival awards. 

Credits:  So I Married An Axe Murderer, Tough Guys, Down Came A Blackbird, Duke of Groove

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Des Moines-Ames News

What Makes a Good Love Scene?

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Low Budget Filmmaking Heroes

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What Science Says About Writer’s Block

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Lorne Michaels Potential Retirement from SNL and The Future of TV Sketch Comedy

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Achieving Flow: Entering the Vortex

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How to Have a Successful Table Read

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What You Should Know About Neil Gaiman

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EDM Jobs That Actually Exist!

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The Film Scene in Des Moines-Ames

The Des Moines-Ames, Iowa Film Connection Film School Advantage

Wonder of wonders, could it be? A film school in Des Moines and Ames? Oh yes, there is. We set you up with a working film Mentor who helps you learn the hands-on skills of filmmaking. And you get to make all sorts of connections with major Hollywood players all from the comfort of your own home. Film Connection. Doing the impossible.

To APPLY for our Des Moines-Ames Film School, click here.

Located in central Iowa, Des Moines is the state capital of Iowa, as well as its largest city–hosting a population of nearly 200,000 people in a greater metropolitan area of over half a million. About a half hour to the north, Ames is home to around 57,000 people. Together, the two cities anchor a media market that encompasses 35 counties in central Iowa. The Des Moines-Ames area is home to several film or television production companies, and sees quite a bit of film activity; additionally, it is within driving range of other metropolitan areas such as Kansas City, St. Louis and the Quad Cities area, making it a good central hub for location filmmaking. If you are considering a career in filmmaking as a film director, film producer, film editor, or cameraman, FILM CONNECTION can help you tap into the resources available in this area so you don't have to relocate somewhere else.   

The Des Moines-Ames area and surrounding locales have played host to numerous major film productions, which include The Experiment, Dead Awake, Peacock, Field of Dreams, and Twister, just to name a few. Iowa State University in Ames was one of the film sites for the oft-mentioned 2008 documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed starring Ben Stein. The Des Moines-Ames area has also seen its share of television filming, including episodes of Cops, The Biggest Loser and others.  

As you can see, the current filmmaking landscape of this area makes it a surprising choice for aspiring film students–and FILM CONNECTION can put you right in the middle of it by hooking you up with a working professional in the Des Moines-Ames film or television industry. This person will serve as your mentor/instructor during our six-month program, giving you valuable hands-on experience and helping you make valuable connections.  No wonder 70 percent of our graduates find permanent jobs in the industry. You could be next! Enroll in Des Moines-Ames FILM CONNECTION's film school alternative today.

To APPLY click here.

Connections Matter

Learn From Industry Pros

The Film Connection film school is endorsed by filmmakers who are making the movies you love.

Professionals in the film business—including many of the famous producers, screenwriters and directors who’ve worked on the films that inspire you—endorse Film Connection’s programs for one simple reason: they know our immersive hands-on method works.

Mark Kohn

Marc is an accomplished executive with a consistent record of managing costs, measuring progress with metrics and creating operational efficiencies. He’s a thoughtful and enthusiastic professional possessing the ability to create a vision, gain executive alignment and effectively lead dynamic high performance teams for success.

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Jason Hewitt

Jason Hewitt, a native of Louisiana, left the technology industry to join the film and television industry. Hewitt was an early mover in the Internet economy, founding the website creation and marketing management company Planet Symphony in 1994.

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David Fuhrer

David’s stage and studio clients include: Bravo, “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”, Sex & The City, American Cancer Society, Clairol, Law & Order – Criminal Intent, Amazon, Verizon, VH1, The History Channel, MTV, Director’s Guild of America and many many more.

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ICM Partners

and RRF have donated to the Hide & Seek Foundation’s SOAR (Support of Accelerated Research).

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Carl Millender

Carl Millender born in Shreveport, Louisiana on March 5, 1970 is a pioneer in the film and television industry. In 1990 Carl Millender became a cultural consultant for NBC’s new programs, including “The Fresh Prince of Bel-air”, “Seinfeld”…

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Brian Glazen

Equal parts MacGyver, Steven Spielberg and Gandhi, Brian has ideas. Ideas about marketing, ideas about communication and ideas about fixing just about anything that might be broken. When he’s not sharing his ideas with clients you can usually find him fixing things at his own home or eagerly searching for things that may need fixing…

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Sam Borowski

“Film Connection truly is the ‘Film School of Hard Knocks.’ It helps new students to gain experience and network and teaches one thing I always preach to young filmmakers: practicality. It gives new students and would-be filmmakers, writers and editors, a chance to connect personally with their mentors.”

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Alex Keledjian

Producer of Project Greenlight

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Richard Berg

Richard Berg is an Art Director’s Guild and Emmy nominated Production Designer. He is responsible for the Production Design of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, Eleventh Hour, Miami Medical, Chase and Modern Family. Berg is also an architect.

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Jeff Kushon

Great program. I’m proud to be a part of it.” Jeff has worked on over 200 film sets and has been a Set Decorator on hit movies, “Dude Where’s My Car”, “Nurse Betty”, “Blade 2”, “Beautiful”, “She’s All That” as well as TV shows “Modern Family”, “Trust Me” and “Miami Medical”.

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Luis Estrada

“Our first apprentice (extern) in this program was put right in the middle of the action and it was amazing how he was able to learn by doing. This Film Connection is great for people with a sincere interest in this field. Our apprentice (extern) turned out to be a reliable resource and we hope […]

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Matt Pellowski

“Being paired with working professionals and established companies allows up-and-coming artists to learn on the job, introduces them to the realities of film production, and helps them acquire the tools needed to become successful. Two of our current staff are graduates of the Film Connection.”

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