Minnesota History Center
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Moving Pictures Film Entries for 2007

“On an Overgrown Path” by Joan Strommer

The obscured images shot in regular 8mm film (1936) of a time past provide the “missing pages” of my father as a young single man.  Slow motion and repetition applied to the paths and appearances of my father allow “time” to be expanded and recovered.

Filmmaker Bio:

My short experimental films made from 1973 to present have explored family relationships.  “On an Overgrown Path” continues this introspection reaching back to images of my father’s youth adulthood (1936).  My films are vehicles for understanding the phenomenon of memory. 

“On the Screen” by Gabriela Estrada Long

“On the Screen” is a short documentary that depicts the era of television, newsreels, and advertising from the late 1930s to the late 1950s.  It is a piece that reflects back on women joining the WACs and how Rosie the Riveter became a main source of advertising.

Filmmaker Bio:

Independent filmmaker Gabriela Estrada Long was born in Costa Rica and raised in Duluth.  After attending the Perpich Center for the Arts in the Twin Cities, Bradford College in Massachusetts and the University of Iowa, Long established Taviette Film Productions in 1999.  Taviette focuses on autobiographical and biographical short documentary films, with a commitment to documenting stories of those who leave a legacy of their own making.

“One Boy’s Story” by Terry Gydesen

With her first film, award-winning photographer Terry Gydesen shares a moving portrait of her father’s life.   From Lou Gydesen’s earliest memory from age 4 when his mother died, through coming of age at the end of World War II, “One Boy’s Story” is striking in its emotional honesty.

Filmmaker Bio:

Melody Gilbert suggested I make a film, which I thought impossible having no experience.  I went to the Minnesota Historical Society website and watched the films from last year, and was inspired to try.  Seven weeks after starting a class at MTN on beginning production, “One Boy’s Story” is the result.

“One in a Million” by Amanda Becker

Nelson Peery’s family was the only African American family in Wabasha, Minnesota during the Great Depression.  He enlisted in the CMTC and was taken to Arizona immediately following high school graduation.  His experiences serving in World War II in the segregated 93rd division led to him joining the Minnesota chapter of the Communist Party. 

Filmmaker Bio:

Amanda Becker has a B.A. in Women and Gender Studies from Macalester College and a diploma in film production from the Vancouver Film School.  Her film experiences include writing, producing, and directing documentary and narrative shorts.  Amanda has taught filmmaking and video production to high school students through Northwest Film Forum, and mentors young girls in the Seattle area Reel Girls video production program.

“Prisoner 32,232” by Gayle Knutson

Longtime Minnesota college professor Reidar Dittmann recalls how the Nazi invasion of his native Norway led to his involvement in the Norwegian Resistance and a 15-month incarceration at the notorious Buchenwald concentration camp.  The twist of world events led him to Minnesota where he made his new life.

Filmmaker Bio:

Gayle Knutson is a 25-year veteran of the film and television industry.   Gayle grew up in a small town in northwestern Minnesota. She now lives in an even smaller Minnesota town with her husband Jim, daughter Casey, dog Skippy and cat Rosie.  Several of her films have received awards, including the film “Grandfather’s Birthday,” which won more than 20 awards worldwide.  She is currently in preproduction on her next documentary.

“Pumpkin Day” by Larry Greenstein

“Pumpkin Day” is an 8mm visit to an old North Minneapolis tradition.  It’s the annual give-away of thousands of pumpkins to North Minneapolis school children by “Pumpkin Joe” Greenstein.  A member of the Greatest Generation, Greenstein sponsored the event from his grocery store every year from the late 1930s to the mid 1960s.

Filmmaker Bio:

“Pumpkin Day” is the first film made by Larry Greenstein.  Son of “Pumpkin Joe” Greenstein, Larry has written two stories for the Minnesota’s Greatest Generation Project (War Bride #202 and The Pumpkin Man #480).  Larry is a life long Northsider who hopes to develop a work of fiction based on his father and the old Near Northside of Minneapolis.

“Resonance” by Paul Creager

"Resonance" tells the story of an old Buddhist temple bell that survived the scrap metal drives of World War II, only to be given to Duluth as a war trophy from the USS Duluth.  In 1954, Mayor Johnson made a decision about the fate of this bell that still resonates today. 

Filmmaker Bio:

“Resonance” is my first film.  I lived in Japan for two years, and while there learned about this story.   When I returned to the United States, I was motivated by the opportunity to investigate the journey of a sacred object, and preserve the actions of individuals whose efforts promoted peace.

“Rock County World War II Pilots” by Jamie Vickery

This movie contains brief stories from four pilots or gunners from Rock County, Minnesota.  They are Gordie Helgeson, Ray Anderson, Jake Boomgaarden, and Jerry Taylor.

Filmmaker Bio:

I come from the small town of Luverne, Minnesota.  I am 17, and a straight-A student.  I work hard at everything I do.  I chose to do my movie on World War II pilots from Rock County because planes always fascinate me and I believe these heroic veterans deserve to have their stories told.

“Ruth Miller:  The Nature of Strength ” by Hannah Nemer

I was lucky to meet Ruth Miller, someone with quite a story.  I couldn’t believe her family’s struggles throughout the Depression.  What affected me most were Ruth’s uplifting stories of overcoming those struggles.  Through my film, I hoped to show the power of perseverance and the power of Ruth’s stories.

Filmmaker Bio:

I’m Hannah Nemer, 15, and I’m passionate about filmmaking.  For me, it is the best way to express myself.  TVbyGIRLS, a nonprofit organization set out to empower girls through the power of media, supported me throughout the entire process.  I loved working with Ruth Miller, the focus of the film.   

“Sabina Zimering:  A Memoir of Courage” by Gwen Briesemeister

By obtaining false papers in order to disguise her true identity, Jewish Holocaust survivor Sabina Zimering was able to escape occupied Poland and survive when so many others perished.  Sabina shares her story of fear, courage, friendship and hatred while “hiding in the open” during World War II.

Filmmaker Bio:

I am currently a full-time Gifted/Talented Coordinator at Delano Public Schools.  I have taught at the elementary, high school, and college levels.  Entering my film in last year’s Moving Pictures competition was my first independent film project.  I am currently in post-production for a film titled “Grin and Bear It.” 

“The Science of Home” by Madeline Shaw

Ruth Quesenberry grew up in Minnesota during the Great Depression.  “The Science of Home” is based on her experiences being a homemaker as a full-time career.  It explores the historical role of homemaking as a popular career choice among women.

Filmmaker Bio:

Maddy Shaw has been part of TVbyGIRLS, a non-profit organization of young women filmmakers, for over three years.  Her work with TVbyGIRLS has screened in youth film festivals throughout the country.  Maddy made “The Science of Home” as part of the Minnesota’s Greatest Generation project in partnership with the Minnesota Historical Society.  

“She Quoted Shakespeare” by Alan Lloyd

A farm kid from Hopkins went off to war and met a young Englishwoman (from Oxford – she quoted Shakespeare!).  They returned to a family life in Minnesota, his building career, and 62 years of marriage.  We meet them as they reflect on their lives and offer us valuable lessons.

Filmmaker Bio:

I have more than 15 years of experience in different roles on multiple projects in broadcast, and non-broadcast, film production.

“Sing a Song, Budd” by Sam Clark

“Sing A Song, Budd” recounts memories of Budd and Marguerite Andrews, who currently reside in northern Minnesota, that marked them during the 40s. Sam Clark gained an intimate glimpse of their day-to-day lives by living with them for a total of nine days over three visits to their home. 

Filmmaker Bio:

“Sing a Song, Budd” is Sam Clark’s second short documentary.  His first documentary is called “Hard Times,” and it explores the role that the Hard Times Café plays within the Cedar Riverside neighborhood.  He made the documentary for a class at the University of Minnesota where he got his B.A.

“Skating the Pacific to Europe” by Rita Nagan and Jeremy Wilker

Lacing up his first pair of skates at age five, Art Seaman began his skating career at Longfellow Park.  Progressing to the Powderhorn Skating team, through hard work and chance luck, he literally skated and danced his way from Minnesota to the Pacific to the 1948 Olympics and back again.

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.

“A Soldier’s Story” by Becca Sandager

Betty Iveland, Luverne, Minnesota resident tells the story of her husband Red Iveland, who served in the Army in World War II and was captured during the Battle of the Bulge.

“Tanta Mary” by Julie Rappaport

Tanta Mary witnesses the influences that led to the evolution of women’s roles and those impacts on 20th-century society. She speaks to the legacy of her generation and offers words of wisdom to future generations as we continue to redefine our roles as individuals and families in today’s world.

Filmmaker Bio:

Julie’s Smokin' Yogi Films released their first three projects in 2007: a demo-pilot for the web-series, “Abnormally Normal,” production in 2008; “Introduction to Yoga for non-Yoginis, a documentary used for University of Minnesota upper coursework; and this labor of love in pursuit of meaning through a beloved elder’s stories.

“Their Own Drummer” by Jyni Koschak and Mike Johnson

Retired chiropractor Elmer Zoff, 94, and retired librarian Phyllis Cohen, 87, struggled through the Depression, did their part during World War II, and lived successful middle-class American lives.  Now, with the wisdom of their years, they feel an urgent purpose in fighting for peace and justice.

Filmmaker Bio:

Jyni Koschak is an artist, writer, video producer, and avid folk dancer.  She has a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Minnesota.  Formerly an associate producer at TPT, she also worked on various independent productions. 

Mike Johnson is from South Minneapolis and has a B.A. in History from Bethel College.  As a musician, he became interested in video as an extension of his music. 

“Veda Ponikvar:  A Voice of Legacy” by Derrick Silvestri


“A Voice of Legacy” takes a look at the life of one of Minnesota’s most amazing residents, Veda Ponikvar.  In her life, Veda has inspired so many as the youngest newspaper publisher in the country, civilian aide to the Army, inspiration for a Hollywood film, and has dedicated her life to preserving the stories of the miners on the Iron Range.  Hear Veda’s stories in her own voice…a voice of legacy.

Filmmaker Bio:

Derrick Silvestri is an employee of St. Cloud State University.  He attended Hibbing Community College and St. Cloud State University.  He likes to use his spare time editing videos and short films.

“We Never Talked About It” by Maxine Davis

Working with flowers all his life, a young man goes to war.  After the bomb in Nagasaki, he walks the barren land and remembers the eyes of a defeated people.  He didn’t talk about it for 60 years.

Filmmaker Bio:

With a Master’s degree in Information Science and more than 20 years in film production, Maxine blends her research and writing skills with her passion for history.  In 2006 she produced “A Good Doctor” for the Greatest Generation Project, winning the award for "Best Exploration of an Intergenerational Legacy." 

“The Wealth of a Penny” by Molly Nemer

The film, “The Wealth of a Penny” is about a woman named Edith Davis who grew up during the Depression, and how she made so much out of her life when she started with nothing but a penny.

Filmmaker Bio:

Molly Nemer is a 12-year-old girl who has been a part of TVbyGIRLS for the past two years. She enjoys filmmaking because it is an extension of her interests in music, art, and theater.  

“Wells Lewis:  Lost Heir to a Minnesota Son” by Jonathan Quijano

“Wells Lewis:  Lost Heir to a Minnesota Son” is a brief portrait of the life of Sinclair Lewis’s first son.  The film tells how Wells was raised among the social elite but eventually found his own place by joining the Greatest Generation on the battlefields of World War II.

Filmmaker Bio:

Jonathan Quijano received a B.A. in English with a minor in History from St. Cloud State University in 2003.  He writes poetry, essays, music, screenplays, and recently, drama.  In August of 2007, his play “The Dragon’s Eye” premiered at Augsburg College’s Manna Festival.  He is the recipient of the Robert L. Carothers Distinguished Writer’s Award.

“Who’s Left?” by Kirsten Nelson

A short piece about the cost of war, its effect on the people experiencing the events and the soldiers that fight them, specifically looking at Pearl Harbor and 9/11 as told from the varying perspectives of one 15-and one 93-year-old woman.

Filmmaker Bio:

Kirsten Nelson is 15 years old and made this piece after her interaction with an amazing 93-year-old woman named Jean Jefferson, through the organization TVbyGIRLS. TVbyGIRLS is a local youth media organization, which is focused on empowering women and girls in the media.  

“A Woman’s Place:  The Adventures of Catherine Burns Lush” by Lisa Wagner

Meet Catherine Burns Lush — butter sculptor, pilot, doctor in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps during World War II, world traveler, fine artist, concert violinist, cabin builder, wife, mother and Gunflint Trail homesteader. As she describes many of these adventures, we discover how she redefined a woman’s place while making her dreams come true.

Filmmaker Bio:

Lisa Wagner lives in St. Paul and is a graphic designer, freelance writer, photographer, and filmmaker. Besides film, she loves food, music, and spending time on the Gunflint Trail (something she shares in common with her subject, Katie Burns). This is her second film for the Minnesota’s Greatest Generation Project.

“The Work of Play” by Casey Haarstad

Based on conversations and shared activities between Rose Marie Wakefield, a retired nun, and Casey Haarstad, a 13-year-old filmmaker, “The Work of Play” compares the way children played in the 1930s to the way children play today and explores how recreational choices can lead to fulfilling careers.

Filmmaker Bio:

Part of TVbyGirls since June 2004, I have created more than eight films including “We Don’t Let Labels Stick” (Youth Voices Judges Award, San Diego Girls Film Festival & Best PSA LocoMotion International Film Festival) and “Siblings or, Why I Want to be an Only Child” (Bronze Telly Award).

“World War II:  Rock County” by Mason Makram

This is a documentary on World War II veterans with connections to Rock County.  Out of thirty interviewed veterans, I chose six and compiled their most interesting stories of the war.

Filmmaker Bio:

I’ve been holding a camera since I was around six.  It must be genetic because my dad was a filmmaker as well.  Currently, I enjoy making movies with my friends, and I’m going to college for it as well.  When I heard our town was filming veteran interviews, I volunteered to help out and even edit the final project.  I then learned that any student who wanted to play with the footage could make a ten-minute video to send in to this contest.  I waited until everyone was done, and took the footage home.  It was an excellent project to experiment with sound, camera angles, and color correction.

“Yorktown:  The Richard Brown Story” by Joseph Rivkin

Told by a survivor of the Battle of Midway, “Yorktown” is the story of a man who enlisted in the US Navy not knowing what troubles lay ahead of him.

Filmmaker Bio:

Ever since I was a young boy I have loved everything about film. I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker at the young and bright age of three. I have made films with friends for fun, and have made some for business.

“Greatest Generation Showcase #1” Jeff Weihe & Dianne Steinbach

The Minnesota Historical Society and TPT co-produced the "The Greatest Generation Showcase" featuring 5 award-winning films from the 2006 Moving Pictures Films.  The program also includes interview excerpts from the filmmakers and explores their approach to making their short film.  Included in the 60-minute program: "A Good Doctor" by Maxine Davis, "A Sacred Heart" by Norah Shapiro, "A Satisfied Life" by Freya Schirmacher, "Making the Best of Hard Times" by Roger Bindl and "My Grandma Lucy" by Ali & Tom Drube.

“Greatest Generation Showcase #2” Jeff Weihe & Dianne Steinbach

The Minnesota Historical Society and TPT co-produced the "The Greatest Generation Showcase 2" in conjunction with the public television broadcast of the Ken Burns documentary "The War".  Registered Filmmakers of the 2007 Moving Pictures Film Competition were invited to submit their films early for possible inclusion of this 60-minute program looking at the war from a uniquely Minnesotan perspective.  Included in the 60-minute program: "Coming Home" by Matt Ehling, "Prisoner 32,232" by Gayle Knutson. "One in a Million" by Amanda Becker, "Resonance" by Paul Creager and "We Never Talked About It" by Maxine Davis.

“First Shot:  The Secret Submarine Attack on Pearl Harbor” by Bonnie Beatson

The historical documentary, co-sponsored by the USS Arizona Memorial Association, tells the story of how American Naval Reservists from St. Paul, Minnesota were doubted after they sunk a Japanese midget attack submarine at Pearl Harbor more than an hour before the air attack on December 7, 1941. 

Filmmaker Bio:

Originally from St. Paul, Bonnie Beatson has lived in Hawaii since 1973.  After working as a graphic designer for over 20 years, she returned to college to earn her bachelor’s degree in visual communications from Hawaii Pacific University.  She is currently the marketing and public relations director at the University of Hawaii—Winward Community College.  Bonnie worked with Mark Nitta and Ingo Bauerfeind on “First Shot.”

“Honor Most Proud”by Pam Palan & Dianne Steinbach

Produced by Twin Cities Public Television, this 30-minute program contains moving remberances by Minnesota Latino, Natiove American, and female World War II veterans, who at time faces discrimination to serve, and who love for America runs especially deep.  Narrated by Thomas Saylor, the program includes accounts by Marion E. Fandel, Marian C. Fredrickson, James E. Clark, Dean F. Blue, Arlene M. Skrock, BJ Gersey, Simon Velasquez, Augustine Martinez, Manuel J. Aguirre, Joseph H. Medina, Elizabeth "Betty" Strohfus, Mildred "Micky" Axton.

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