Documentary celebrates the enduring vitality of local journalism
When “Storm Lake” was released in 2021, the Boston Globe said that this “warm and biting profile of the editorial team that puts out The Storm Lake Times stirs up hope that small local newspapers, and journalism itself, can survive.”
In line with its own work to assure that independent, professional and trustworthy journalism survives in this city, Ashland.news will host a screening of “Storm Lake” at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 16, in the SOU Science Building auditorium. Film producer and co-director Beth Levison, who was nominated for an Academy Award this year for “The Martha Mitchell Effect,” will join the audience by Zoom for a follow-up discussion.
Levison and Ashland.news board member Tod Davies, herself a screenwriter, producer, author and publisher, will discuss the film showing on JPR’s Jefferson Exchange at 9:10 a.m. Tuesday, March 14.
There is no entry fee for Thursday’s screening, but optional donations of $20 will be appreciated. Also, attenders are encouraged to RSVP by clicking here. (There is no cost to RSVP.)
When the 85-minute documentary debuted, it was selected for screening at film festivals across the country, including Provincetown, Woodstock, Philadelphia, the Twin Cities, Denver, Duluth and Ashland.
The Hollywood Reporter called “Storm Lake” “a vital celebration of the role of community-based news gathering at a time when media revenues are way down and the credibility of the press has taken a hammering across much of the country. Chronicling roughly two years in the life of The Storm Lake Times, which has served the rural Iowan farm town for 30 years, the film is an engrossing account of a family business run with integrity and passion. It also doubles as restorative proof that, even in these divided times, respectful co-existence can still outweigh opposing political views.”
Explaining why he was motivated to make this film, co-director Jerry Risus said, “(M)y local newspaper, The Buffalo Center Tribune, went the way of many independent papers like it — once run by an enterprising local and a few staff writers, it’s now owned and operated by a large corporate consortium. The stories that make the fabric of the town are largely gone … Thankfully, the people of Storm Lake are more fortunate than so many communities around the country. Despite their struggles, they are connected by their biweekly paper.”
Co-director Levison is an Emmy and Peabody-winning producer/director based in New York City. Her most recent producing efforts include “Women in Blue” (Tribeca Film Festival 2020/Independent Lens) and Emmy-nominated “Made in Boise” (AFI DOCS 2019/Independent Lens). Her 2023 Academy Award nomination is for producing “The Martha Mitchell Effect,” an original Netflix documentary. Levison teaches filmmaking at Sarah Lawrence College.
Email Ashland.news Executive Editor Bert Etling at firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text him at 541-631-1313.
March 13: Spelling of Beth Levison’s name corrected.