Margi Weiss, (515)
"Eight Found Dead in Peaceful Iowa Village"
in newspapers from coast to coast, this headline announced the discovery of America’s
greatest unsolved mystery and Iowa’s worst mass homicide: the 1912 Villisca,
Iowa axe murders. Ninety-two years later, on the anniversary of the gruesome crime,
Fourth Wall Films presents a new documentary feature film "Villisca: Living
with a Mystery." The documentary will premiere on June 10 at the State Historical
Building in Des Moines. "Villisca: Living with a Mystery" is the epic
tale of a town forever altered by the brutal June 10, 1912 axe murders of a family
of six and two overnight guests, and examines the effects of the unsolved crime
on the town, the county and the state of Iowa in the decades following 1912.
The first-ever screening of this revealing new documentary will include an evening
of turn-of-the-century entertainment, including a cocktail reception, ragtime
pianist, barbershop quartet, vintage Model Ts on display, actors in period dress,
and artifacts on display, including the infamous murder weapon (on loan for these
events). Following the screening will be an unprecedented panel discussion led
by Mary Brubaker and including filmmakers Kelly and Tammy Rundle, historians Dr.
Edgar Epperly and Dr. Bruce Stillians, victim relatives Robert Moore and Adrianne
(Stillinger) Graham, and former Villisca mayor Susie Enarson. As a fundraiser
for the State Historical Society of Iowa, this event begins at 5 p.m. and costs
$75 per person. Tickets can be purchased by calling 515-281-6911 or online at
Further shows are as follows:
June 11, "Screening Under the Stars," 8:45 p.m. on the State Historical
Building Grand Terrace. Tickets are $7 and can be purchased at the door. Bring
blanket or lawn chair.
June 12, 2 p.m. State Historical Building Theatre, $8.
June 12, 7 p.m. State Historical Building Theatre, $10.
June 13, 2 p.m. State Historical Building Theatre, $8.
June 13, 7 p.m. State Historical Building Theatre, $10.
Ten years in the making, "Villisca" combines over 50 interviews with
scholars, criminologists, relatives of the victims, and town residents, with hundreds
of period photographs, documents, archival film, computer animation, original
art and the limited use of re-enactments, to shed new light on the mystery, its
longterm impact, and reveal the face of a killer using new historical research
and forensic discoveries.
"Villisca" was awarded grants by Humanities Iowa, The Nebraska Humanities
Council, The National Endowment for the Humanities, and The Red Oak Heritage Foundation.
Iowa Public Television served as a fiscal sponsor.
Please note that the subject matter of this historical documentary (a mystery
involving the murder of children and other adult themes) may be too intense for
those under 12. Parental guidance is strongly encouraged.
For more information, visit www.villisca.com
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