Official Prairie Lights 2016 Schedule Announcement!


We are excited to announce the official schedule for the 4th Annual Prairie Lights Film Festival! 38 films, 17 world premieres, Q&A’s with over 20 filmmakers, and multiple mixers!

Order your Weekend Passes right now for the low price of just $10.00! Here’s what you get:

  • Entrance to all 38 films
  • Entrance to all Q&A’s and all Mixers
  • A free DVD sampler of select films screening this year!
  • 25% off your bill at Bonzai and Sin City Grill as well as Free entrance to the Saturday night Bonzai Blowout After party featuring an area rock band!
  • Free Popcorn and Soda vouchers!
  • A Prairie Lights lanyard featuring original artwork by Grand Island artist Jim Pohl!

Day passes are $5.00 but do not come with all the sweet shwag listed above, so even if you can’t attend all three days, you should still get yourself a weekend pass for all the merch!

And without further ado, this year’s schedule!

Friday, October 7th


  • Step on in to Bonzai Wave Pizza for a pre-festival mixer! Writers, Directors, actors, and the public are welcome to meet up prior to the festival’s opening to network, chat, and have some cocktails. Filmmakers will be on hand to discuss their upcoming projects.

6:00pm: Doors Open

6:45 pm: Prairie Lights Film Festival Opening  Remarks by Mark Popejoy

  • Master of Ceremonies Mark Popejoy kicks off the festival with an introduction, thank you’s, and a look at the weekend ahead.

7:00 pm: BENDER (2016)  d. John Alexander {Thriller} WORLD PREMIERE!

  • A troubled doctor searches for patients swallowed by the prairie and encounters the Benders, homesteaders trapped by a life of unspeakable sin.

8:30 pm: CLASSIFIED (2016) d. Kevin McMahon {Action Thriller}  WORLD PREMIERE!

  • A Navy SEAL squad enters an abandoned power plant and soon find themselves up against a paranormal force that even the best fighters on Earth cannot escape.

8:40 pm: PILLOW FRIGHT (2015) d. Patrick Rea {Horror Comedy}

  • A pillow fight between sorority sisters takes an unexpected and deadly turn.

8:45pm: FLAT WATER TERRORS VOLUME 2 (2015) d. Various {Horror} World Premiere!

  • The World Premiere of FLAT WATER TERRORS VOLUME 2, a brand new, never before seen anthology of spooky short films directed by first time Nebraska filmmakers as well as seasoned Nebraska vets!  All films in the anthology will be showing for the first time ever!

    • THE BAGMAN (2016) d. Sam Rocha {Horror} World Premiere!

      • A cheating spouse hires a mysterious man to knock off his wife with terrifying results.
    • TERPSI’S CATCH (2016) d. Jack Forey {Horror} World Premiere!

      • A man out fishing comes across a mesmerizing woman playing a harp and doing some fishing of her own.
    • LOVE BITES (2016) d. Joshua Weixelman and Patrick Lambrecht {Horror} World Premiere!

      • Dealing with circumstances beyond his control, Victor is destined to live a lonely and unfulfilled life until he finds love in the most unlikely of places… right next door.
    • THE TOOTH GOBLIN (2016) {HORROR} d. Aaron Gum World Premiere!

      • A young girl faces the terror of losing her tooth and her grandmother.
    • THE HOUSE ON PEACH AVENUE (2016) d. Pete O’Brien {Horror} World Premiere!

      • Two paranormal investigators head out to the country to explore a ghostly legend and get more than they bargained for at The House on Peach Avenue.


  • Please join us for a Q&A session with the directors of the brand new Nebraska made FLAT WATER TERRORS anthology. The directors will be on hand to discuss their work and to take questions from the audience.

10:15 pm: ENDOR (2015) d. Aaron Gum and Andrew McGreevey {Horror}

  • After witnessing a grisly murder, a couple find themselves hunted down by someone in a small township.

11:45 pm: End of Day 1 Wrapup with Mark Popejoy

  • End of Night 1 wrapup and closing comments by Master of Ceremonies Mark Popejoy


Saturday, October 8th

Join us for Day 2 of the festival filled with all sorts of genres and styles, including scifi, dramas, comedies, films noir, short film blocks, and more!

8:00 am : Sin City Grill Breakfast Mixer

  • Festival patrons, writers, directors, and actors can meet up at Sin City Grill for some delicious breakfast and networking before Day 2 of the festival begins.

10:00 am: THE HYPNOTIST (2015) d. Pete Lipins {Scifi Drama}

  • Can you be hypnotized against your will? Michael Morris thinks so. He sets off to make the documentary that proves it; to his eternal regret.

11:30 am: LEAVING KANSAS (2015) d. David Weiss {Drama}

  • A high school teacher stricken with cancer enlists the help of a former student to obtain marijuana to ease the horrible side effects of chemotherapy.

11:45 am:  THE CHAUFFEUR (2015) d. Mitchell Lyon {Comedy Drama}

  • A man embarks on a journey to create a monstrous Frankenstein-like personal chauffeur, discovering unexpected friendship and somewhat-expected danger in the process.

12:05 pm: ADOPTATION (2015) d. Tom Knoblauch and Ben Matukewicz {Comedy}

  • Lou Wilson returns from a few years of college to live at home again only to find that his parents have adopted a 12-year-old.

1:35 pm: THE INSELBERG EFFECT (2015) d. Tony Bonacci {Comedy Drama}

  • A man has a crazy encounter with a famous author whose writing has recently been helping him through a divorce.

2:00 pm: WAXING (2015) d. Lexi Bass {Experimental}

  • A film about the moon, a Jungian dream diary, fear, responsibility and growing up.

2:45 pm: Short Film Block

  • A Collection of short films from various genres by Nebraska filmmakers!

    • FAMILY VALUES (2015) d. Val Singhal {Comedy}

      • When Dylan comes out to his parents at the Dinner Table, the evening takes an unexpected turn
    • IN THE DARK (2015) d. James Ficenec {Thriller}

      • A widower faces uncertainty while awaiting an unknown assassin.
    • THE TIDE (2015) d. Tatum Lenberg {Comedy} World Premiere!

      • In this twisted Ingmar Bergman parody, three siblings try to murder each other before the yearly tide comes to claim one of them to pay for their family’s past sins.
    • CHORES (2015) d. Jeff Jackson {Comedy} World Premiere!

      • A collection of comedic vignettes revolving around a child’s attempt at housework.
    • FOOD JUNKIE (2015) d. Christina Marie Leonard {Comedy} World Premiere!

      • a female-centric comedy about two dysfunctional roommates having problems with food.
    • YOU’RE WELCOME (2016) d. Justin Senkbile {Drama}  World Premiere!

      • A girl has an awkward encounter with her hero, then gets cornered by a talkative stranger.
    • MELANCHOLY (2015) d. Nathanial Edwards {Drama}

      • a young woman struggling with major depressive disorder findS love and support in the face of a debilitating disease.
    • THE OFFER (2015) d. Daniel Grzeskowiak {Comedy}

      • An assassin makes an offer to her target that he can’t refuse.
    • CYBERBOY (2016) d. Brandon Fix {Animated} World Premiere!

      • There’s a mystery in Andover Park, a superhero named Cyber Boy has taken to the streets!

3:30 pm: Q&A with short film Directors: Tatum Lenberg, Lilia From, Sam Lyons, Jeff Jackson,  Justin Senkbile, and more.


  • Take a break from the Prairie Lights Film Festival and head on over to Bonzai for some good eats or the Chocolate Bar for good drinks!  Hobnob and network with Nebraska writers and directors to find out the latest films coming soon to production in 2016 at both locations. Get the scoop on all upcoming projects and prepare yourselves for a night of World Premieres!

5:30 pm: COMMUNITY WATCH (2015) d. AJ Oetman {Comedy}

  • A group of rednecks band together to solve a drug crime.

6:00 pm: JESSE’S CHILI (2016) d. Tom Lombard {Suspense} World Premiere!

  • A suspense thriller in the vein of a Twilight Zone episode!

6:30 pm: THE WOLF’S ROBE (2016) d. AJ Oetman {Drama}

  • An atheistic magician runs from the F.B.I. and hides out in a small Nebraskan town by pretending to be their new minister.

8:15 pm: Q&A with Director’s AJ Oetman and Tom Lombard

8:30 pm: WALK A MILE (2016) d. Benito Garcia {Drama} World Premiere!

  • A shoe repairman meets a customer with a mysterious pair of boots. Once the cobbler begins to work on them he finds a shocking surprise that pushes him to amend one of his most important relationships.


  • A collection of World Premiere films noir from a cadre of great Nebraska filmmaking talent!

    • KISS A FELLA (2016) d. Dorothy Booraem and Chad Haufschild {Film Noir} World Premiere!

      • A dame, a detective and a desperate man whose paths collide in a cab one rainy Los Angeles night.
    • SKELETON DANCE (2016) d. Benito Garcia {Film Noir} World Premiere!

      • After her mother dies, a young girl is mentally and physically abused by her grandmother.
    • SAY GOODBYE, GRACE (2016) d. Ryan Olsen {Film Noir} World Premiere!

      • A detective named Grace finds an old friend dying who asks her to solve one last case.
    • BACKWASH (2016) d. Daniel Grzeskowiak {Film Noir} World Premiere!

      • An online journalist investigates several murders and is forced to decide between her life and the truth.

10:00 pm: Q&A with NEBRASKA NOIR Filmmakers

  • Mark Popejoy moderates a discussion with Benito Garcia, Ryan Olsen, Daniel Grzeskowiak, Dorothy Booraem, and Chad Haufschild about this unique anthology project.

10:30 pm: Conclusion of Day 2 / BONZAI BLOWOUT AFTER PARTY

  • Day 2 concludes and we all head a couple blocks over to Bonzai Wave Pizza for food, drinks, and the performance of an area rock band! Free entrance for all Weekend Pass Holders!

Sunday, October 9th

8:00 am: Breakfast Mixer (SIN CITY GRILL)

  • Kick off the final day of the festival right by heading to SIN CITY GRILL to meet with other filmmakers for a great Grand Island breakfast!

10:00 am: OMAHA HERO’S: MAILBO (2015) d. Sam Rocha {Action Comedy}

  • When veteran postal worker John Mailbo attempts to deliver a package to a young lady, trouble abounds when he is confronted by the most ill gang of the neighborhood, the T-Baggers!

10:40 am: HANDLE WITH CARE (2015) d. Colleen Kenney {Documentary}

  • A short documentary on Harold Chenoweth, Nebraska’s first film producer.

10:50 am: TAKING LENA HOME (2015) d. Alexandra Grant {Documentary}

  • The true story of an antique Nebraska tombstone found in Wyoming being brought back to its rightful destination.

11:50 am: I DREAM OF AN OMAHA WHERE… (2015) d. Mele Mason {Documentary}

  • A collaborative project involving former gang members and people who have been affected by gangs in Omaha spotlighting the problem of youth-on-youth violence in one of the most dangerous cities for African-American youth.

1:00 pm: A COLD DAY IN HELL (2015) d. Nickolas Robison  {Action}

  • In a future world overtaken by man-made toxins, a small group of survivors try to survive.

1:15 pm: Q&A with Director Nickolas Robison

  • Master of Ceremonies Mark Popejoy interviews Nickolas Robison, a local Grand Island filmmaker.

1:45 pm: Festival Closing Remarks

  • Mark Popejoy closes out this year’s festival!


We are proud and honored to showcase so many fantastic films and filmmakers this year. Please be sure to head over to the tickets page and order your Weekend Pass for just $10.00!

Also, if you’re coming from out of town, don’t forget to book a room! There are a number of nearby hotel options located on the Hotel Page!



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