My father grew up in Lost Nation, a small town in eastern Iowa. In the 1980’s, Dad’s hometown, like so many others in the Midwest, fell upon hard times. The seeds of income inequality were being sown, yet it wasn’t really discernible—unless you lived in places like Lost Nation.
My early films explored the lives of people living in the backwoods and small towns of a lost nation: in a former coal town owned by an absentee corporation; with a farm family on the losing end of a bank deal; and among itinerant preachers practicing a grassroots tradition in the shadow of televangelism. These films have been screened at festivals and in museums around the world.
Based in Boston, Lost Nation Pictures is indebted to our city’s extraordinary non-fiction tradition and deep reserves of filmmaking talent. Our work is characterized by a spirit of independence, compelling narrative and a deep engagement in the lives of our film characters. These values coalesced in the feature-length Scenes from a Parish, made over four years at a Catholic parish in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and broadcast on the PBS series Independent Lens in 2009.
Current projects include Class of ’27, in which three diverse filmmaking teams crossed the U.S. to explore the lives and early education of young children in the rural outposts of eastern Kentucky, northern Minnesota and in the western states among children of migrant farm workers. Class of ’27 aired in September on the World Channel series America Reframed and is streaming at The Atlantic. The Clemente Project (working title) is an investigation into the lives of three people who participated in a rigorous year-long humanities program and are finding their lives changed by the experience.