Indie documentaries are their own breed in which storytelling rules are uncover life’s mysteries. In the basement of an old farmhouse, retired history teacher Mike Zahs uncovered a riddle of reels, and with the help of filmmakers, seeks to unravel it in “Saving Brinton.” Osceola will host one of only seven screenings, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, at Lyric Theater.
Frank and Indiana Brinton were a cornerstone of early film development. They had one of the first theaters in the country and took their equipment on the road to share silent movies with audiences in small towns from Iowa to Texas. When they retired, they packed up a treasure trove of films, and ultimately the collection was forgotten. When discovered, it contained some of the earliest examples of movie making in existence. Thankfully, it was found by a man who recognized a treasure when he saw one, and one with the foresight to understand what it could mean to future film.
“Saving Brinton” is the painstaking story of Zahs’ attempts at restoring and preserving the movies, but it also serves as a commentary on the preservation of family ties and traditions in America’s small towns. Along with finding the right way to care for the film collection, Zahs is tasked with caring for his aging mother. Sadly, she passed during the making of the movie.
Osceola’s film history
For a reportedly boring region, the Midwest film industry has a rich history, one with ties to Osceola. The Lyric Theater, constructed in 1934 and reopened in 2011 by J.B. Hamilton and his family, plays an important role in film today. It has been the site of red carpet screenings of films produced at local sites with local actors and volunteers, including Dr. Jim and Mary Ellen Kimball, who have had a hand in production on a number of short films by Indianola-based filmmaker Paul Berge.
Filmmakers Tommy Haines, Andrew Sherburne and John Richard bring the Brinton story to life.They will attend the screening Tuesday along with Mike Zahs.
Tickets are just $5.