Friday, September 24 at 5:30pm - Co-directors Beth Levison and Jerry Risius, and subject Art Cullen in attendance for post-screening Q&A moderated by journalist and media strategist Sheila Solomon.
Monday, September 27 at 6:00pm - Local journalist post screening panel with Tim Franklin, Senior Associate Dean, Professor and John M. Mutz Chair in Local News, Medill School of Journalism; Pamela Dempsey, Executive Director, Investigate Midwest; Jhmira Alexander, President & Executive Director, Public Narrative; and Andrew Herrera, Director of Growth Strategy, City Bureau.
“An elegiac heartland portrait colored by the hope of endurance, both for the newspaper and the community it represents.” - David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
“By the end, we have come not only to love the real-life characters at The Storm Lake Times, but everyone we meet, including Lorena Lopez of the Spanish-language paper, La Prensa, who wants to combine resources with Cullen so they can double their reach in two languages. So many people appear to care about news that matters, and that’s a heartening site. Perhaps the apocalypse is not quite nigh. Read on!” – Christopher Llewellyn Reed, Hammer to Nail
“Reminds us that we cannot be complacent. We cannot take democracy for granted. And local reporting is a mainstay of an informed citizenry and therefore democracy." - Julie Gammack, Des Moines Register
Dark clouds hang over the vast cornfields of Storm Lake, Iowa, which has seen its fair share of change in the 40 years since Big Agriculture came to town. Farmers blow their life savings on new equipment they hope will keep their livelihoods intact. Migrant workers flock here from all over the world, welcome and not, for their slice of the American Dream. The people of Storm Lake confront challenging circumstances as corporate, political and environmental forces—and even a global pandemic— threaten to overwhelm their already precarious existence.
Enter: 63-year-old Art Cullen, an old-school journalist who has dedicated his life to his family’s biweekly newspaper The Storm Lake Times. In 2017, Art unearthed a conspiracy between Big Agriculture and local county officials that won him a Pulitzer. Now, his liberal voice reverberates in this conservative district in a critical swing state. While he has the power to change minds and rally votes, his pugnacious voice makes waves; disgruntled residents don’t always agree with his point of view and have been known to write him and his paper off, completely.
As nearly 2000 local papers have shuttered in the last 20 years - a crisis accelerated by COVID-19 - the stakes have been especially high for the Cullens, who comprise half The Times’ 10-person team. Art’s 27-year-old son Tom is lead reporter, his wife Dolores the photographer and culture reporter, his older brother John the publisher, and John’s wife Mary the food columnist. Against tight deadlines and slimmer margins, the Cullens doggedly report on their town, and wonder how the paper will survive as readers - with a preference for their social media feeds - cease to support journalism like they used to. (ITVS)
- Friday, September 24 at 5:30pm - Co-directors Beth Levison and Jerry Risius, and subject Art Cullen in attendance for post-screening Q&A moderated by journalist and media strategist Sheila Solomon.
- Monday, September 27 at 6:00pm - Local journalist post screening panel with Tim Franklin, Senior Associate Dean, Professor and John M. Mutz Chair in Local News, Medill School of Journalism; Pamela Dempsey, Executive Director, Investigate Midwest; Jhmira Alexander, President & Executive Director, Public Narrative; and Andrew Herrera, Director of Growth Strategy, City Bureau.
Festivals, Awards & Nominations
Official Selection - Full Frame Documentary Film Festival; AFI Docs; Docedge Film Festival
Updated COVID-19 Protocols
We care deeply about the well-being and safety of our audiences and staff. With the recent rise of COVID-19 cases, we are updating our health and safety procedures to require proof of full vaccination* or a negative result on a COVID PCR test for all screenings and events at the Film Center.
We know it can be hard to enjoy a movie without knowing the status of the folks sitting close to you. Our hope is that these new procedures will allow you to relax and view our films in the way they’re meant to be seen--with your undivided attention to the screen.
Beginning on Friday, September 10, you will need a valid photo ID and one of the following items to gain entry to the Film Center:
- Physical vaccination card
- A legible photo, copy, or scan of your card; an image on your phone will be acceptable provided that it is legible
- Proof of a negative result on a COVID PCR test conducted within 72 hours of the film or event start time
*Full vaccination means any vaccine for COVID-19 which has received full or emergency use approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or World Health Organization (WHO). Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they have received the second dose in a two-dose series or a single dose from a one-dose series of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use by the FDA or WHO.
You will need to show proof of vaccination status or a negative PCR test result as you enter the theater.
Children under 12 will not be permitted in the theater, since they are not yet eligible to receive a vaccine.
In addition, the Film Center will continue to implement the following safety protocols:
- In accordance with the Governor's recent Executive Order, all patrons and staff will be required to wear a mask covering their nose and mouth at all times while in the theater
- Staggered showtimes and ample time between shows to mitigate crowds
- Ticket pre-orders for films encouraged to reduce lines and guarantee seats
- Hand sanitizer and disposable face masks available for patrons
- Only 80% of our tickets will be available for sale
- No eating or drinking will be permitted in the theater; no concessions will be sold
The Film Center reserves the right to require patrons who do not follow these procedures to leave the theater immediately.
As always, if you are feeling unwell for any reason, please stay home and stream films instead of joining us at the theater. We are happy to refund or exchange your ticket for another time. In addition, please understand that while these updated procedures are intended to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19, there is nonetheless inherent risk to exposure in any indoor space where others are present. Those entering the theater do so at their own risk to such exposure.
If you have already purchased a ticket for a screening on Friday, September 10 (or beyond) but are unable to comply with these new procedures, please contact us at email@example.com for a refund.
We appreciate your cooperation and support as we continue to navigate the ever-changing COVID landscape.
See you at the movies!
--Your Friends at the Film Center