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Scope and Contents
Refocus was founded in 1965 as a joint student-faculty-staff project coordinated initially by the Iowa Memorial Union Board Films Area and, later, funded by UI Student Government.
The Refocus collection in the Archives (RG02.0003.026) includes 6.0 lin. ft. of material from 1965 to 1979, mainly correspondence, programs, and sample posters. The collection is not processed but is open for research. We also have two folders, mostly of newspaper clippings, in our student clubs and organizations vertical file (RG01.0015.004). There is no evidence of any Refocus activity after 1979.
- Creation: 1965-1979
- Refocus (Organization)
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
Biographical / Historical
Refocus was founded in 1965 as a joint student-faculty-staff project coordinated initially by the Iowa Memorial Union Board Films Area and, later, funded by UI Student Government. Its primary activity was an annual motion picture film and still photography festival held on campus in the spring. Its April 11-17, 1966, festival featured UI alumnus Charles Guggenheim as a guest speaker. The project stemmed from Iowa's strong tradition in cinematography and the visual arts.
The organization floundered financially during the 1970s, though it continued to hold annual festivals through 1978. According to an article in the February 26, 1979, issue of The Daily Iowan (the student newspaper), Refocus?s funds were frozen by the Student Senate just two weeks before its scheduled March 1979 spring festival because of "chronic debt problems". According to the article, Refocus lost $5,454 during the 1973-74 school year, with a total debt of $22,325 accumulated over six years, from 1973 to 1979. An April 4, 1974, Des Moines Register article described sudden cancellations of scheduled speakers for that year's festival, including Kurt Vonnegut, George Roy Hill and Orson Welles. Those who did appear that year included Ralph Bakshi, Jim Danforth, and DeDe Allen.
Other noted speakers during the 1970s included Robert Altman in 1974, with Shelley Duvall and Keith Carradine at the screening of Thieves Like Us; Rudolph Arnheim, A.D. Coleman, and Herbert Zettl in 1975; and Robert Redford and Cindy Neal in 1976.
6.00 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
- David McCartney
- Language of description
- Script of description