A new exhibition opened at the State Historical Museum of Iowa today celebrating movies, movie stars and movie-making in Iowa.
"Hollywood in the Heartland" celebrates Iowa film-stars like Donna Reed, John Wayne, Cloris Leachman and Jean Seberg, among others.
And features Hollywood films made in the state, including "Field of Dreams" starring Kevin Costner, "Bridges of Madison County" starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep.
Independent films also get a spotlight and include several documentaries produced by Emmy® nominated filmmakers Kelly & Tammy Rundle of Fourth Wall Films. Clips from their Emmy-nominated "Country School: One Room - One Nation", their award-winning documentary "Lost Nation: The Ioway", and their soon-to-be-released "Movie Star: The Secret Lives of Jean Seberg" are among those featured in the display.
The Dispatch-Argus highlights the new exibit in a story by journalist Jonathan Turner:
"Des Moines is 1,689 miles from Hollywood, but Iowa's prolific, enduring impact on the silver screen will be on display in the state capital in a new, free exhibit starting today.
"Hollywood in the Heartland" opens Friday, June 27th at the State Historical Museum of Iowa, 600 E. Locust St., Des Moines. It will be kicked off at 10 a.m. with a talk from Ottumwa native Tom Arnold, a writer, producer, actor and comedian. Mr. Arnold has been in more than 120 film and television projects including "True Lies," "Nine Months," and Mike Myers' new documentary, "Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon."
"'Hollywood in the Heartland' explores our legacy with the silver screen from the late 1800s to today's movies and filmmaking, and I invite all Iowans to visit the State Historical Museum to see this blockbuster exhibit," Gov. Terry Branstad said in a recent release.
"This exhibit not only showcases our past, it also points us to the future where new movie and media production technologies are generating more opportunities for creativity, growth and expansion," Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds said.
"Hollywood in the Heartland" is a 6,400-square-foot exhibit that shows how Iowa and Iowans have been portrayed on film, uncovers the beauty of Iowa's historic theaters and their role in communities, and the people who have made an impression on-screen and behind the scenes. The exhibit includes photos tracing Iowa's stage and screen heritage -- including Davenport's Adler Theatre (1931), Capitol Theatre (1920), and the former Burtis Opera House (1867).
A collection of video clips, called "Iowa Film Today," will show quality productions based on Iowa topics being done today and includes parts of the Moline-based Tammy & Kelly Rundle's Fourth Wall Films documentaries: the Emmy® nominated "Country School: One Room - One Nation", the award-winning "Lost Nation: The Ioway", and their new film "Movie Star: The Secret Lives of Jean Seberg" (co-produced with partner Garry McGee of McMarr, Ltd).
The exhibit also has a graphics re-print of their "Movie Star: The Secret Lives of Jean Seberg" (a bio-pic on the internationally renowned Marshalltown native) as part of the "Iowa Film Today" section.
The "Hollywood in the Heartland" exhibit will be on display from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, for the next two years. For more information, visit iowahistory.org or call 515-281-5111.
The award-winning and critically-acclaimed "Country School: One Room--One Nation" DVD makes a great holiday gift for the former one room school student, teacher or American history buff in your life!
Click here to order the DVD: http://fourthwallfilms.com/dvds.htm
From immigration issues in early schools to the controversial demise of their widespread use in the 1950s and 1960s, “Country School” combines visually stunning images of a myriad of restored and decaying buildings--including one designed by Frank Lloyd Wright--with surprising, humorous and heartwarming stories from former teachers and students. More than just nostalgia, “Country School” also delves into the dark side of the one-room school experience and dispels the myths behind the revered institution that helped bind a young nation together.
Powerful on-camera commentary from a who’s who of one-room school historians and writers provides insight into lessons learned from the school days and school ways of yesteryear.
Multilingual classrooms, guns in school, and the pain of consolidation and closure remind us that the dramatic one-room school story continues to provide insight today.
Nominated for a Regional Emmy® Award!
FEATURES: full-length filmmakers' commentary track, Frank Lloyd Wright-Wyoming Valley Grammar School featurette, Frances Willard School featurette, and extended interview comments.
DVD signed by the filmmakers upon request. Free holiday gift wrap upon request.
Click here to order "Country School" and other American history, mystery, and classic car DVDs: http://fourthwallfilms.com/dvds.htm
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Award-winning filmmakers Tammy and Kelly Rundle of Fourth Wall Films will appear with their Emmy-nominated documentary Country School: One Room – One Nation for a special screening event at the Oakland Mills Nature Center, 2593 Nature Center Drive, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, September 17, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. Admission is free to the public.
Over 80 hours of interviews, vistas, and historic sites shot in all four seasons in Iowa and four other states have been distilled down to a feature-length documentary that tells the dramatic true story of the life, death, and rebirth of one-room schools in the Upper Midwest.
Country School: One Room – One Nation received a regional Emmy-nomination in 2012. The documentary has received numerous awards at film festivals, screened over 100 times all over the country, was broadcast on PBS stations and was released nationally on DVD.
The Rundles previously produced the award-winning documentaries Lost Nation: The Ioway 1, 2 &3 and Villisca: Living with a Mystery. Their new documentary Movie Star: The Secret Lives of Jean Seberg, co-produced with Emmy-nominated filmmaker Garry McGee, premieres in November 2013 at the Orpheum Theatre Center in Jean's hometown of Marshalltown, Iowa. They are currently in production on a docudrama entitled Sons & Daughters of Thunder, and two documentaries River to River: Iowa’s Forgotten Highway 6 and Hero Street.
Country School: One Room – One Nation was funded in part by Humanities Iowa, the Kansas Humanities Council, the Wisconsin Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area. The Rundles own Fourth Wall Films, an independent film and video production company formerly of Los Angeles, and now based in Moline, Illinois.
Meticulous preservation work continues on the interior of Forest Grove School in Bettendorf, Iowa. The one-room schoolhouse was featured in the Emmy-nominated documentary Country School: One Room - One Nation, produced by Kelly and Tammy Rundle, and was feared near collapse.
Forest Grove preservationist volunteers Sharon Andresen and Rod Blunk talk with documentary filmmaker Tammy Rundle about the progress being made on Forest Grove School.
"Forest Grove was built in 1873 and is a remnant of the time when most Iowans lived on farms, sending their children to one of the 12,623 or so country schools that dotted the state about every two miles.
These schools helped shape the character of the state, and they helped build Iowa’s reputation — somewhat eroded today — as a leader in education, having the highest literacy rate in the nation, and its strong support for local control and neighborhood schools." ~Alma Gaul, Quad City Times
The school closed in 1957 and became the property of former student Delbert Blunk and his family. Now 140 years later, the nearly dilapidated icon has found new life thanks to the efforts of preservationist Sharon Andresen and the Blunk family.
Much has taken place since restoration work began in March of 2012, including fundraising events, grant writing, research, evaluating and planning, documenting oral histories, collecting archival materials and photographs; rehabilitation donations and volunteer assistance with siding, building lifting and stabilizing, creating and squaring the new foundation, repairing floor joists. New engineer plans were created; the not-for-profit Forest Grove School Preservation 501(c)3 was formed, and an application for the National Historic Register has been submitted.
And, though they are eager to open the doors to a fully saved and restored country school, Sharon Andresen and the Blunk family know too well there is much more work ahead. But that doesn't discourage them in the least. They are paying close attention to detail and doing what is right for the school, Andresen says.
They welcome strong volunteers willing to roll up their sleeves and lend a hand. And they are grateful for donations through their non-profit organization.
You can help! Send donations to the Forest Grove School Preservation charitable organization at PO Box 603, Bettendorf, IA 52722, visit www.ForestGroveSchool.com and make sure you LIKE the fan page of Facebook. And, help spread the word!
Country School: One Room - One Nation is fast becoming a resource for one-room school house preservation efforts from New York to California.
The Emmy-nominated documentary not only has a fan base of former country school students, teachers and historians, but receives requests from groups around the country working to generate interest in saving their own school houses.
"The documentary opens with a schoolhouse in the early stages of preservation," said director Kelly Rundle. "And, as you learn about the significance of one-room school history, you see various examples of country school restoration success stories along the way."
"When we started production on Country School: One Room - One Nation we did not foresee the impact the documentary would have on preservation projects," said producer Tammy Rundle. "We are thrilled that the film is inspiring these kinds of efforts. It's really wonderful."
Filmmakers Tammy & Kelly Rundle stand outside the beautifully restored North Bend Community Center in Spragueville, Iowa.
To order the Emmy-nominated Country School: One Room - One Nation, visit http://www.fourthwallfilms.com/dvds.htm.
A special Milwaukee, Wisconsin screening of the Emmy-nominated documentary "Country School: One Room - One Nation" will be featured on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 6pm-8pm at the Community of Christ Church, 12320 W Bluemound Rd. Milwaukee, WI 53226. This event is free and open to the public! Filmmakers Tammy and Kelly Rundle will engage in a Q&A with attendees via Skype following the film presentation.
Kelly and Tammy Rundle's award-winning documentary Country School: One Room - One Nation made the Hollywood Reporter's listing. Perhaps it was the 2012 Emmy® nomination. Maybe it was the many glimmering 'stars' that played such an important part in telling the one-room school story. Or, possibly its the perfectly restored schoolhouses, or those in various stages of preservation, or the haunting beauty of the empty frameworks wasting away on the Iowa, Kansas and Wisconsin landscapes. Whatever the reason, we are pleased that Country School continues to get a little limelight!
Linda Cook, Movie Reviewer - Quad City Times
Spouses Tammy and Kelly Rundle of Fourth Wall Films in Moline have created yet another documentary gem. These two superb filmmakers write, direct and shoot - they do it all. And they do it with a love for the Midwest, depicting obscure and rare pieces of history with photos and video while interviewing historians and those who remember to develop a "You are there" tone.
Their follow-up to "Villisca: Living With a Mystery" and "Lost Nation: The Ioway" is "Country School: One Room - One Nation."
Some of you are too young to remember such schools first-hand. But I'll bet someone in your family can tell you tales handed down by a grandparent about the "one-room schoolhouse" experience. My dad loved to talk about the one-room school he attended in Nebraska, and he really did walk through terrible storms and knee-high snowdrifts to get there. Not surprisingly, both of the Rundles' fathers attended one-room schools.
"Country School" weaves together the narratives of historians and those who taught or were students at one-room schoolhouses, along with video segments and photos, including many of restored schoolhouses. In Iowa, 3,000 of these buildings remain, with 200 of them restored. Iowa, in fact, had almost 13,000 one-room schools at one time, more than any other state.
The schools were phased out in the 1950s and 1960s, but before that they were full of farm children and children of immigrant families. In the German immigrant schools, teachers often spoke both English and German so the children of newly arrived families could learn the language of their new country.
The Rundles took two years to complete this movie, which portrays existing Midwest schools in a variety of conditions, from dilapidated to now-restored. Historians share their expertise along with those who attended and taught at the schools. The oral history is vivid and fascinating. It's intriguing to hear real-life stories of a school system that is vastly different from the one we know now and of teachers who were expected to teach every age, every ability and every subject while they kept the stove going in the winter and maintained order all year long.
The Rundles filmed throughout the seasons, so the audience gets a flavor of what it must have been like to walk to school through clover fields as well as snow. The settings are beautiful, and re-enactments make the schools come alive again as classrooms.
Incidentally, the movie was funded in part by Humanities Iowa, the Kansas Humanities Council, the Wisconsin Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area.
Please see this wonderful film, then visit with the Rundles and tell them how much you appreciate their fine work.
To purchase a copy of the Emmy® nominated documentary "Country School: One Room - One Nation" click HERE! The documentary also won a Telly Award for Television Documentary, the Country School Association of America Award, Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival Best Documentary Award and was an Official Selection at numerous film festivals.
Delegations from the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma and the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska will return to their ancestral homeland of Iowa to attend the world premiere of Lost Nation: The Ioway 2 & 3 at the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History, 17 N. Clinton St., Macbride Hall Auditorium in Iowa City on Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. Kelly and Tammy Rundle of Fourth Wall Films, producers of the Emmy® nominated documentary Country School: One Room-One Nation and the award-winning Lost Nation: The Ioway 1will join the Ioway and other film participants for Q&A following the screenings.
When the Ioway were forcibly removed from their ancestral homeland of Iowa in 1837 to a reservation on the border of Nebraska and Northeast Kansas, Ioway leader White Cloud (The Younger) believed his people must relocate to survive. But intermarriage, broken treaties and the end of communal living led to a split in 1878 and the establishment of a second Ioway tribe in Oklahoma. Both tribes endured hardship and challenges to their traditions and culture to achieve successful land claims and self-determination in the 1970s. Lost Nation: The Ioway 2 & 3 brings the dramatic Ioway story full circle.
“I believe all the tribes had their trail of tears, said Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma Tribal Elder Joyce Big Soldier-Miller. “They all suffered--all those Indians who made those treks away from their former homelands.”
“It’s always good to look at the past and remember that it does affect the future,” said Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska tribal member Reuben Ironhorse-Kent. “The ancestors did the best they could with what they had.”
Ioway Elders and tribal members join other Native scholars, historians, archaeologists and anthropologists to tell the dramatic and true story of the small tribe that once claimed the territory between the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers from Pipestone, Minnesota to St. Louis. The state of Iowa takes its name from the Ioway Tribe.
In addition to the premiere, the public is welcome to visit the new Ioway exhibit at the Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center in Toddville, Iowa (40 minutes north of Iowa City), a special Ioway display and premiere reception in the Iowa Hall at the Museum of Natural History from 5:30pm until 6:30pm.
The world premiere of Lost Nation: The Ioway 2&3 is hosted by the Museum of Natural History, University of Iowa, 17 N. Clinton, Macbride Hall Auditorium, Iowa City, Iowa and will take place on Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free. The films contain mature themes and historical images that may be disturbing to young children. A premiere reception will take place from 5:30pm-6:30pm in the Museum's Iowa Hall.
The documentaries will continue screening throughout the U.S. and will be released on a single full-featured DVD in April 2013. An alternative soundtrack in the nearly extinct Ioway language will be offered on the DVD. Broadcasts on Midwestern PBS stations are slated for 2013.
Lost Nation: The Ioway 2&3 was partially funded by grants from Humanities Iowa and Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area, as well as humanities councils in Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and South Dakota, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Looking for the perfect gift for the history buff, a favorite teacher, former country school "kid" or passionate preservationist? The Emmy nominated Country School: One Room - One Nation by award-winning filmmakers Kelly and Tammy Rundle of Fourth Wall Films is it!
Country schools took rough-hewn pioneers and multilingual immigrants and transformed them into a literate and patriotic new nation. Whether personally, or through a parent or grandparent, the country school as an American architectural icon, is as imprinted on our perception of the nation’s early history as the log cabin and the general store. Stories told by former teachers and students are often nostalgic, but they are also dramatic, humorous, and heart-wrenching.
The bonus feature-packed DVD includes the 72-minute award-winning documentary, filmmaker commentary, extended scenes and interviews, and much more!
Order Country School for just $20.00 with FREE SHIPPING! Want your DVD signed by the filmmakers? Just request it when you order! You can also request our FREE holiday gift wrap!
Click here to order: Country School: One Room - One Nation and other award-winning documentaries from the Fourth Wall Films catalog, including the Native American saga Lost Nation: The Ioway, and Villisca: Living with a Mystery, the perfect gift for unsolved mystery aficionados!