“Country School: One Room – One Nation” Film Exploring the Myth and Legacy of Midwestern Rural Schools Set to Premiere

From the producers of the award-winning documentaries “Lost Nation: The Ioway” and “Villisca: Living with a Mystery”

“Country School: One Room – One Nation” Film Exploring the Myth and Legacy of Midwestern Rural Schools Set to Premiere
Des Moines, IA, November 10, 2010 --(PR.com)-- “Country School: One Room – One Nation,” a new documentary exploring the myth and the legacy of Midwestern one-room schools, will make its world premiere at the State Historical Building in Des Moines on November 19, 2010. The film was written and produced by award-winning filmmakers Tammy and Kelly Rundle (“Villisca: Living with a Mystery” and “Lost Nation: The Ioway”).

Country schools took rough-hewn pioneers and multilingual immigrants and transformed them into a literate and patriotic new nation. From the first schools in new states to the demise of their widespread use in the 1950s and 1960s, “Country School: One Room - One Nation” takes viewers "back to school" for a new and unique look at the lasting impact of middle-America’s one-room schools.

“Today’s complex, consolidated, urban education system stands on the shoulders of America’s one-room schools,” said director Kelly Rundle.

At its peak, Iowa was home to nearly 13,000 one-room schools, more than any other state in the country. Currently there are over 3,000 country schools still standing in Iowa, with 200 restored schools—more than any other state.

“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. “I encourage anybody with an interest in history and one-room schools to see this documentary.”

“Because seventy to eighty percent of Iowa children attended one-room schools in the 1800s, this story is a family history for most Iowans,” said producer Tammy Rundle. “Both of our fathers attended one-room schools in Iowa and Wisconsin.”

Shot over a two year period in the midst of all four seasons, the 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, Illinois, Missouri and Nebraska. Interviews with former country school teachers and students, as well as a who’s who of one-room school scholars, include authors Bill Samuelson, Jerry Apps, Dorothy Schwieder, Sue Grosboll, Lisa Ossian, Mark Dewalt, Vera Hurst, Frank Yoder and Bill Sherman—the man who suggested the topic to the Rundles.

The “Country School” twin premiere event will be held at the State Historical Building, 600 E. Locust, Des Moines St. on Friday, November 19, 2010, at 6pm and 8pm. Tickets are $10 per person through www.Midwestix.com or $13 at the door. In addition to the film, the premiere evening will feature music by Just 4 Fun Old Time Music—showcasing music from the documentary, a historical display of country school memorabilia, and Q&A following the film screenings. DCA’s 6th Annual “Chili for Charity” for the Food Bank of Iowa will be served from 5-8pm for $5 per person. The premiere is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, Preservation Iowa and Sierra Investment Management.

Additional screenings of “Country School” will continue on Saturday, Nov. 20 at 2pm, 4pm and 7pm, and Sunday, Nov. 21 at 2pm. Tickets are $8 per person at the door.

“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. Visit www.CountrySchoolMovie.com.

Fourth Wall Films
Kelly Rundle, Producer-Director