Minnesota History Center
345 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102
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Moving Pictures Film Entries for 2007

“90 Pounds of Rucksack” by Linda Ostberg and Carl Schroedl

Don Rockenbach's survival through the Depression after his father’s death, his service with the ski troops of the 10th Mountain Division during World War II, and his struggles with mountains, Germans, mules, and English Setters are but a few of the frosty peaks and rugged valleys of his life.

Filmmaker Bio:

Linda Ostberg grew up hearing compelling stories of Don’s life, but she had no filmmaking experience.  Carl Schroedl, Linda's 17-year-old nephew, has amateur film-making experience.  Linda helped Don recall the memories.  Carl brought this work to the next level.  Their efforts resulted in a film that tells a considerable amount about Don's life.

“The Baker’s Son” by Bruce Meyers and Calvin Johnson

A recollection of Robert Gorghuber’s life.  The son of a baker, Robert himself too became a baker and served in World War II as one.  Upon returning from the war, Robert continued to work for the Armory as a career. 

Filmmaker Bio:

I have been working on various films for one year.  I made a thirty-minute documentary 1 year ago.  I have made five short films.

“Brave Man, Gentle Hero” by James Jorgensen

An exploration of life during the Depression, as a Navy gunner in World War II, and returning home to Austin after the War, as told by Minnesota veteran Harry Hoffman.

Filmmaker Bio:

I’ve been interested in telling people’s stories ever since I got my first tape recorder as a young kid. As much as I enjoy the technical and creative side of filmmaking, the true satisfaction comes from seeing and hearing the story unfold as it’s being told to the camera.

“Brynhild Rowberg:  Selected Stories” by Lindsay Kaplan

Brynhild Rowberg, a brave single woman in her twenties, traveled overseas in 1945 to do her part for the war.  While maintaining foreign diplomatic relations, she acquired humorous accounts of gunfire, dancing, and decapitation.  This is a selection of those stories.

Filmmaker Bio:

Lindsay Kaplan graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design with a degree in photography in 2007.  She currently works for a photographer in St. Paul and is continuing to pursue both fine art photography and her newly found interest in documentary film.

“Can’t Help Singing” by Marlis Schmidt

In 1945, Gerry Jones’s troop train made a fateful stop at the St. Paul Union Depot.  He found himself charmed by a Red Cross woman playing the piano.  Still madly in love 60 years later, Gerry and Annette Jones retell their love story with pictures and song.

Filmmaker Bio:

Marlis Schmidt is an independent audio and video producer with a background in public broadcasting and the arts. She loves traveling and documenting first-person stories of people, places, and things.

“Charlotte Snowberg Petit” by Molly Getty and Noel Petit

Charlotte Snowberg Petit, born in 1916, lived in Richfield, Minnesota for much of her life.  She tells descriptive stories about the home-centered life of a typical woman in her time—cleaning, cooking, and church.  She marvels at the dramatic change in the life of a woman from then to now.

Filmmaker Bio:

Molly Getty earned an A.S. in Filmmaking at MCTC.  She has worked on both feature and short films.  She was urged by her stepfather, Noel Petit, computer science professor at Augsburg College, to document the stories of his stepmother, Char Petit, a vibrant member of the Greatest Generation.

“Collections and Reflections:  Albert Lea in Uniform” by Roger Bindl

The film is a collaboration with World War II historian Kurt Barickman. Kurt reflects on World War II through his uniform collection as we visit with World War II veterans in Albert Lea, Minnesota. The veterans tell of their harrowing experiences in key battles to defend Europe and the Pacific.

Filmmaker Bio:

Roger Bindl is a technologist in video telecommunications, and video producer with 34 years in telecommunications, and media development.  He has a diverse background that ranges from the arts to leading edge technology in telecommunications and video.

“Coming Home” by Matt Ehling

"Coming Home” tells the story of Bill Ehling, a World War II combat veteran who fought in the European theater.  Through family photos, historical footage, and glimpses of his hometown, the film relates Bill’s memories of war, struggle—and finally—of coming home.

Filmmaker Bio:

Matt Ehling is a producer, cinematographer, and writer who works in both television and radio.  His original documentary programs have aired on PBS, the IFC Channel, and the Bravo Channel.  His St. Paul-based company, ETS Pictures, produces a variety of television and film work, including material which has been seen on Court TV, PBS, and at the Sundance Film Festival.  Matt is Bill Ehling’s grandson.

“Dearest Albina” by Annie Wood

“Dearest Albina” is a narrative of the life of Albina Evans, an incredible 92-year-old woman from St. Paul.  The film focuses on love and how letters exchanged while her husband was in the service during World War II were the glue that held together their relationship and lives.

Filmmaker Bio:

I work with TVbyGIRLS, a social justice nonprofit organization where girls interested in film work with mentors who are filmmakers and other girls to create films on issues important to girls and women.  I’ve made two other pieces during the year I’ve been involved in TVbyGIRLS. 

“A Different World” by Jo Ann Bennett

Bill and Arlene Clark often said that the years between 1915 and the early 21st century were an exciting time to have lived.  Among their experiences in Iowa and Minnesota, living during the Great Depression left indelible memories.  As they tell in their own words, it was “A Different World.”

Filmmaker Bio:

Our family moved to Brooklyn Center, Minnesota in 1960, where my parents (who are the subjects of this documentary) lived until their deaths in 2003 and 2005, respectively.   I graduated from Osseo High School in 1965 and from Macalester College in 1969 with a B.A. in Classics.  I received a M.A. in Humanities from Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida in 1971.  I have worked for the Minnesota Judicial Branch since 1974 in the office of the Anoka County Court Administrator.   

“Dr. Julien Petit” by Molly Getty and Noel Petit

Julien Petit, born in 1917, influenced and mentored by his physician father, studied at the University of Minnesota to become a doctor.  Just as he was beginning his career, World War II hit and he tested his skills on hundreds of enlisted and on those injured in battle.

Filmmaker Bio:

Molly Getty earned an A.S. in Filmmaking at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.  She has worked on both feature and short films.  She was urged by her stepfather, Noel Petit, a computer science professor at Augsburg College, to document the stories of his stepmother, Char Petit, a vibrant member of the Greatest Generation.

“Eiler Henrickson:  A Wartime Geologist” by Aleshia Mueller

The war rapidly depleted natural resources. Oil was needed for fuel, steel was needed for machines, uranium was wanted for the Manhattan Project. This is a story of a geologist who found them all, and more.

Filmmaker Bio:

I have done some documentary work, participated in the 48 Hour Film Project, and created several video blogs.

“Esther Mikiko Suzuki” by Sarah Huber

This is the story of how Esther Suzuki came to Minnesota as told by her sister, Lucy Kirihara.  Esther was sixteen on the day she learned both that she had been accepted to Macalester College and that her family was going to be put into a Japanese American concentration camp.

Filmmaker Bio:

I currently freelance for a company editing and authoring instructional and educational videos.

“Finding Flight” by Jesse Roesler and Jen Larson

During the Great Depression, Bernard H. Pietenpol, with no more than an eighth-grade education, designed a “common man’s airplane” built with hardware store parts.  Today his son and grandson carry on his legacy, and his simple design enjoys a popular following among people of all ages who share his dream of flight.

Filmmaker Bio:

Jesse Roesler finds human beings fascinating, funny and fantastic. So naturally, he likes making movies about them. He has directed a handful of short documentaries, narratives and music videos.

Jen Larson's intuitive interviewing and fresh writing bring alive characters, causes and campaigns. She loves to use words to spark, surprise, and reveal.

“From a Little We Made A Lot” by Susan Panelli

Leona Betterman shares her story on growing up in rural Minnesota.  She speaks openly about the Depression, her fear of the War, and the joy of raising 11 children.  Leona and her late husband Elroy worked hard, enjoyed their lives, and from a little, they made a lot!

Filmmaker Bio:

While in Uganda, Africa, I wrote, shot, and edited a documentary for two non-governmental aid organizations—St. Mary Kevin Motherhood Orphanage and Concern for the Girl Child.  I participated in the Minneapolis 48 Hour Film Project in 2007.

“From Cornfields to College” by Bick Smith

“From Cornfields to College” chronicles the youth of Larry Schreiner, whose family had immigrated from Germany.  He describes the simplicities of growing up in Southwest Minnesota while discussing how he took a different path than most in his community.

Filmmaker Bio:

This is Bick Smith's first film.  He has worked as an actor on film, video, and the stage.  Bick is the morning anchor for Minnesota News Network and hosts "The Big Show" every week on Twin Cities Public Television.  His wife, Cynthia Schreiner Smith, is a gangster tour guide for St. Paul's Wabasha Street Caves.

“Gabe & Gene” by Stephen Gurewitz and Adam Ginsberg

“Gabe & Gene” is the story of two elderly brothers who live together in their childhood home.  Their lives change drastically as Gabe’s health deteriorates and Gene pursues his lifelong dream of moving to Arizona.  Focused on the present rather than the past, it’s a story about family, brotherhood, and growing old.

Filmmaker Bio:

Stephen Gurewitz and Adam Ginsberg wanted to document the story of two classic Minneapolis natives.  The inherent themes of the subjects’ present day lives are ongoing topics that the filmmakers have explored in previous works, although never in documentary form.    

“Gertrude Esteros:  Right Here and Now” by Danyelle Draheim

As a little girl growing up in Minnesota, Gertrude Esteros dreamed of foreign lands.  The daughter of Finnish immigrants, she thought her parents’ homeland would be her first destination.  However, the attack on Pearl Harbor would redirect her passions towards the needs of her country and open her eyes to the indignities of war.

Filmmaker Bio:

Danyelle Draheim is an aspiring writer with a bachelor’s degree in screenwriting. “Gertrude Esteros: Right Now and Here,” is here first film.  She resides in St. Paul with her husband Davis, and her two young sons, Wyley and Elliot.

“A Graceful Goodbye” by Megan Storm

Join members of Minnesota’s Greatest Generation in a Memory Care Unit.  Witness their stories shine and flounder through the fog of faulty memory.

Filmmaker Bio:

Megan Storm is a 24-year old painter, composer, and filmmaker who enjoys illuminating the dark, quiet corners of life. “A Graceful Goodbye” is her directorial debut.

“Hangar Dance” by Luke Taylor

Hundreds of people of all ages come together to celebrate the music, dancing, fashions, and spirit of the 1940s.

Filmmaker Bio:

Luke Taylor lives in Minneapolis.  His film “Searching for Norman” received an honorable mention in the 2006 Moving Pictures Film Festival.

“I Had So Much Fun Living” by Samuel Henderson

Be encouraged as you hear about farming from a 90-year-old man who started farming as a boy with horses and mules and is now using modern equipment.  An interesting view of home life during the Depression and World War II.

Filmmaker Bio:

Samuel Henderson is 19.  This is his first film project of any kind.  It has become a wonderful family project.  However, with no film experience in the group, we have had many trials and errors.  The motivation for doing the film was to preserve the life story of Samuel’s grandfather.

“An Impromptu Interview with Homer Ford” by Nancy Ford

Homer Ford talks about enlisting in the Navy immediately after Pearl Harbor and being on the aircraft carrier USS Wasp when it was attacked and sunk at Guadalcanal.  He was 17 years old.

Filmmaker Bio:

Nancy Ford is a St. Paul resident currently earning her paycheck as a debt collector.

“James McDonnell:  World by the Tail” by John Iverson

“James McDonnell:  World by the Tail” unfolds the simple adventures of youth in the 1920s and 30s, opens communication between wartime strangers, and reflects on a time gone by and how not all changes are for the better.

Filmmaker Bio:

I’ve always enjoyed the creative aspect of video production and filmmaking.  Also, I believe it is important to hear what experienced individuals have to say about the many struggles and pleasures that life presents us each day.

“The John Butler Legacy” by Tom Drube

“The John Butler Legacy” chronicles the life of John A. Butler.  John grew up in Minneapolis and eventually became the director of Dunwoody Institute.  His life is recounted by his son as he reviews keepsakes from the box where they are stored.  Lessons learned in his life are evident in five generations of John Butlers.

Filmmaker Bio:

Tom Drube is an engineer living in Lakeville with his wife, Julie, and three children, Ali, Danny and Jacob.  Tom’s inspiration to create “The John Butler Legacy” came from his experience in the 2006 Greatest Generation Film Festival, where he worked with his daughter in submitting the award-winning “My Grandma Lucy,” which is about his mother.  Tom wanted to repeat the richly rewarding process with his wife’s side of the family.

“Kamman’s A-Comin’” by Laurie Stern and Dan Luke

The film is a tribute to Leigh Kamman, who used his microphone and his love of jazz to promote the genre and launch many musical careers.  His radio show ended September 2007 but his legacy is timeless.

Filmmaker Bio:

Dan Luke and Laurie Stern are two-thirds of the team that made Wellstone! (2004).  Dan has a small production company called Hard Working Pictures and Laurie produces documentaries for Minnesota Public Radio.  Leigh Kamman (b. 1922) has hosted The Jazz Image on MPR for 34 years.  He has been producing and promoting the genre in one way or another since 1939.

“Lady of the Woods” by Aleshia Mueller

A self-taught botanist and expert on wild edibles, Alma Christensen is known by many as the Lady of the Woods. This film explores her coming of age in an Austrian immigrant family homesteading in central Minnesota. Hear about life on the farm, foraging for food, her education, and living and loving during “the hard days” and the war.

Filmmaker Bio:

Nolita, Alma’s granddaughter, gave me a jar of blue violet jelly about a year ago. I had never seen such a thing. She told me that her Grandma made it, along with many other things from the wilds. I wanted to know more, and through the process I was able to make this film for the Greatest Generation Film Project. 

“The Life and Legacy of Lorraine Bresin” by Sunny Bresin

Born in Duluth, Lorraine Bresin endured heartbreaking tragedy as a girl in the 1920s. After establishing her nursing career and starting a family in Chicago, Lorraine settled down in the small town of Askov, Minnesota, where her family ran the local telephone company from their living room.

Filmmaker Bio:

I have worked as a researcher and editor within documentary and reality TV since 2001.

“Lloyd Norgrant:  Hitting Life’s High Notes in the 1940s” by Stan Tordsen

“Lloyd Norgrant:  Hitting Life’s High Notes in the 1940s” tells the story behind a young man from a small southwestern Minnesota town who came of age playing with the 156th Infantry Band in London and at the Potsdam Conference.  The film also shows how the trumpet has been an intergenerational connection in the Norgrant family for over four generations.

Filmmaker Bio:

Stan Tordsen is a 1969 graduate of Concordia-St. Paul.  He teaches 6th grade at Stewartville Middle School and loves getting his students enthused about Minnesota History.  In 2004, he received the Minnesota National History Day Teacher of Merit.  He enjoys spending time with grandchildren, fishing, gardening, and showing Nubian goats.

“Looking For Tomorrow: Bataan and Back” by Thomas Winchell

How did the Boys from Brainerd become the Battling Bastards of Bataan?

Filmmaker Bio:

Thomas Winchell was born in Minneapolis and is 15 years old.  He lives with his mom, dad, sister, and two dogs.  He is in 10th Grade at Southwest High School, in Minneapolis.  For History Day 2007 he chose the topic of the Bataan Death March.  Luckily, he was able to meet and interview Mr. Ken Porwoll.  He inspired Thomas because of his faith and positive attitude toward life. 

“Make Me a Promise” by Rachel Quednau

An exploration of love and marriage over the past half-century.

Filmmaker Bio:

Rachel Quednau, 15 years old, loves to write.  She's part of TVbyGIRLS because "filming is a blast, I've made lots of new friends, and I'd like to change the media's current portrayal of women."  She's also very interested in politics, mainly changing them.

“Marianne Hamilton:  A Voice of Peace” by Kevin McKeever

Marianne Hamilton exemplified Minnesota’s activist spirit in the 20th century.  Archival footage helps Marianne recount her amazing struggles, including leading the GI Wives Club during World War II, venturing to Hanoi for peace during the Vietnam War, and ultimately co-creating Women Against Military Madness in defiance of the Cold War.

Filmmaker Bio:

Kevin McKeever’s life and work experience include being a police officer in Southern California, a medic, a freelance cameraman, and a documentary filmmaker.  This film is a follow-up to his first short documentary “Mad Love:  VJ Smith and MAD DADS,” which was praised by audiences and reviewers upon debuting in the 2007 Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival.  Both films shine light on the work of true community leaders -- leaders he feels will inspire audiences as much as they inspired him.

“Mary M. Werner” by Mary Beth Schubert

A story of two Minnesota farm kids who stepped up for each other and their country.  Greatest Generation member Mary Werner shares her and her husband Ralph’s story of enduring love: from the farm to the Battle of the Bulge to building a business, a life, and a family after war.

Filmmaker Bio:

Filmmaker Mary Beth Schubert is the daughter of Greatest Generation member Mary Werner.  Mary Beth, a first-time filmmaker, produced this film as a lifelong gift for her newborn son, Charlie to inspire him through the words and experiences of his grandmother of the power of people to make a difference.

“My Dearest Martha” by Barbara Pates

A Minnesota farm boy in his early 20s goes to war as a radioman for three-and-a-half years in the South Pacific jungles.  He chronicles his fears, tragedies and triumphs through 518 letters to his girlfriend and future wife waiting on the home-front.

Filmmaker Bio:

I’m a self-taught hobbyist who’s dabbled in telling people’s stories through video and photos for the past couple of years.  My dad died ten years ago.  Through his letters and this project, I was able to help my dad share the story he never got to record while he was alive.

“My Name is McNamara” by Rita Nagan and Jeremy Wilker

Description of Film:

Matthew McNamara’s passion for speed skating began with an old pair of skates that carried him from the Minneapolis Arena to Powderhorn Park and on to the 1952 Olympics.  Over the next decade, he set numerous records while remaining a happy, humble man who “was never really athletic at all.”

Filmmaker Bio:

We joined the Aldrich Long Blades Club on a whim and immediately connected with a group of skaters that are in their 70s, 80s, and 90s.  We’ve become fully engaged and enamored with a vibrant group of “seniors”—a group too often ignored.  This is one of their stories.