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State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release November 3, 2010

Contact: Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov, (515) 281-3858

“Country School: One Room – One Nation” film premieres Nov. 19

Written and produced by award-winning filmmakers Tammy and Kelly Rundle

(DES MOINES) – A documentary film about one-room country schools and how they transformed rough-hewn pioneers and multilingual immigrants into a literate and patriotic new nation makes its world premiere this month in Des Moines.

“Country School: One Room – One Nation,” written and produced by award-winning filmmakers Tammy and Kelly Rundle (“Villisca: Living with a Mystery” and “Lost Nation: The Ioway”), will be screened Nov. 19-21, 2010, at the State Historical Building, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines.

“One-room country schools played a significant and prominent role in Iowa’s past and they remain a source of interest today,” Department of Cultural Affairs Director Cyndi Pederson said. “Many Iowans either attended a country school or had a relative who did. This film will bring back cherished memories for everyone whose lives were touched by a part of rural Midwestern education that simply doesn’t exist anymore.”

A list of movie times and programs follows:

Nov. 19, 2010
Premiere Event – 5:30-11 p.m.

  • “Country School” will be shown at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person through www.Midwestix.com.
  • A Q & A panel discussion will follow both premiere event screenings and include the Rundles, one-room school scholar Bill Sherman, and others involved in the film. Children’s activities, entertainment by “Just 4 Fun,” holiday music by local Girl Scout troops, and historical country school memorabilia will be on display.
  • DCA will also host its 6th Annual “Chili for Charity” fundraiser 5-8 p.m. for the Food Bank of Iowa. “Chili for Charity” tickets are an additional $5 payable on-site only.

Nov. 20, 2010

  • “Country School” will be shown at 2 p.m., 4 p.m., and 7 p.m. Tickets are $8 per person only at the door.

Nov. 21, 2010

  • “Country School” will be shown at 2 p.m. Tickets are $8 per person only at the door.

From the first schools in new states to the demise of their widespread use in the 1950s and 1960s, “Country School” takes viewers “back to school” for a dramatic new look at the lasting impact of America's one-room schools.

The visually stunning film features a unique country school designed by Frank Lloyd Wright along with dozens of more traditional structures of brick, stone or wood – in all stages of restoration or decay – in picturesque rural areas of Iowa, Kansas, Wisconsin, Missouri and Nebraska.

“In creating this film, we also wanted to focus on stories that were handed down from one generation to another,” Kelly Rundle said. “What we found was a treasure trove of memories that are full of nostalgia, drama, humor and often heart-wrenching situations.”

Shot in the midst of all four seasons, the film features interviews with a who’s who of one-room school scholars, including authors Bill Samuelson, Jerry Apps, Dorothy Schwieder, Mark Dewalt, Vera Hurst, Frank Yoder and Bill Sherman, as well as former country school teachers and students. The running time of the film is approximately 80 minutes.

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The State Historical Society of Iowa is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and is a trustee of Iowa's historical legacy and an advocate for understanding Iowa's past. It identifies, records, collects, preserves, manages and provides access to Iowa's historical resources. Its dual mission of preservation and education serves Iowans of all ages, conducts and stimulates research, disseminates information, and encourages and supports historical preservation and education efforts of others throughout the state. Visit www.iowahistory.org or call 515-281-5111 for more information.

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