Award-winning filmmakers Tammy and Kelly Rundle spent two years visiting over 70 one-room schools throughout the Upper Midwest for their film, Country School: One Room – One Nation. The Emmy® nominated documentary will be showcased in a special screening at the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm film series on Friday, February 17th at 7:00 p.m. The event is free to museum members, $5 for non-members and $3 for senior non-members.
Over 80 hours of interviews, vistas, and historic sites shot in all four seasons in Wisconsin 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.
Film critic Linda Cook, Quad City Times, gave the film 4-out-of-4 stars and wrote: "Another documentary gem...vivid and fascinating."
Film reviewer Mike Schulz of the River Cities Reader wrote, "Country School emerges as a definitive portrait of education in a one-room environment, a work that's every bit as informative, engaging and impassioned as those telling its tales."
Along with the expected nostalgia, the Rundles’ journey revealed a few surprises: guns in school, bullying, lunch-stealing ponies, weather disasters, a country school designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and the passion former students, teachers, and preservationists have for these sometimes forgotten and neglected little schools.
Country School also takes a closer look at rural schools and how they attempted to unify American immigrants during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
“One-room schools are a page in American history that is turning, and perhaps in another generation or two, there will be no one left to tell the story,” said writer Bill Samuelson.
Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm is located at 1005 Van Hoosen Road, Rochester Hills, Michigan. In addition to the screening of Country School on Friday, February 17th, the Rundles’ new critically-acclaimed documentary The Barn Raisers will screen at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, February 24th. The Barn Raisers is a companion film to Country School. Call 248.656.4663 for more information.
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.
Country School: One Room – One Nation was funded in part by the Wisconsin Humanities Council, Humanities Iowa, the Kansas Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area.
The Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm in Michigan interprets, preserves and collects the history of the greater Rochester area for present and future generations. Located in Stoney Creek Village, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, this 16-acre museum complex was home to the Taylor and Van Hoosen families dating back to 1823. It features structures original to the property from 1840 to the early 20th century. Presented in a restored 1927 dairy barn are well-designed and informative exhibits highlighting the settlement, agriculture, industry and cultural evolution of this community. The museum serves as the repository for artifacts and archives related to the greater Rochester area and offers access for research.
The Rundles are the producers of the regional Emmy® nominated historical documentaries Country School: One Room – One Nation, River to River: Iowa’s Forgotten Highway 6, and Letters Home to Hero Street (co-produced with WQPT-PBS), and the newly released The Barn Raisers.
Fourth Wall Films is a Northwestern Illinois-based film and video production company specializing in Midwestern historical documentaries for public television broadcast and national DVD and Blu-ray home video release and online streaming. Fourth Wall also provides limited theatrical, broadcast, and DVD distribution services. In addition, the company provides commercial services to museums, PBS stations, and other film and video producers.