July 21, 2024

New adventure film documenting Jefferson Highway’s centennial to debut

DES MOINES — “Traversing a country and so binding it together.” The Shreveport Times. May 26, 1917. In reference to the Jefferson Highway.

Highway Walkers Media, an adventure documentary film company based in Leon will debut their film, “Less Traveled: A Journey from Pine to Palm” in a showing at the Lyric Theater in Osceola 4 p.m. Sept. 24.

The filmmaking duo, Josiah Laubenstein and Darrell Johnston, has been working together for five years and “Less Traveled: A Journey from Pine to Palm,” its third film is about the Jefferson Highway.

If you have to ask what it is, you’re not alone.

“We’re used to getting that question,” Laubenstein said, “You either know everything about the Jefferson Highway or nothing. We’re hoping this film will change that.”

The Jefferson Highway was the continent’s first transnational highway.

Starting in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and finishing in New Orleans, Louisiana, the highway was a turn-of-the-century route for early roadsters. This year it’s celebrating its centennial.

Covering over 2,200 miles, the route, which is in the process of being designated, travels
mostly on two lane highways and town main streets, and skips the major freeways.

“It lengthens the roadtrip, but also heightens the experience,” said Laubenstein, who also says the Highway Walkers are all about experience.

Laubenstein and Johnston traveled from North to South, Pine to Palm as they put it, and while the Jefferson Highway never changes time zones, it changes cultures frequently.

"The people in Winnipeg are different from the people in New Orleans," Johnston said, "But
different is good. It keeps things exciting."

The film lasts about an hour and half and there will be a Q&A session afterward. This screening tour and making of the film were funded by the Meredith Corporate and Family Foundations, so admission is free and all ages are welcome.

Free will donations will be accepted at the event to support the Jefferson Highway Association.

“We make movies that are focused on humor, history and adventure,” Johnston said, “and we want people to come away from this film ready to explore.”