Area filmmaker Jesse Kreitzer to hold Des Moines screening

Black Cannaries
The Aug. 22 screening will include a 10 minute preview of Black Canaries. — image via Jesse Kreitzer

Jesse Kreitzer film screening

Des Moines Social Club — Friday, August 22 at 7 p.m.

University of Iowa MFA candidate Jesse Kreitzer will be stopping by the Des Moines Social Club on Friday, Aug. 22 in support of his upcoming thesis film, Black Canaries — a stirring tale based on early 20th century coal miners.

The evening will include screenings of several Kreitzer films, including Lomax, Soul Of Ashes, Ot Tvarka (Good Grief), The Restoration Project and Pearlswig, followed by a 10-minute sneak peek at his Black Canaries thesis project.

The Black Canaries preview will play out as a storyboard-style animatic, illustrated by frequent Little Village contributor Ben Mackey. The idea is to give viewers a glimpse at how the work-in-progress film will look upon completion.

Black Canaries
Black Canaries storyboard image — illustration by Ben Mackey, via Jesse Kreitzer

Kreitzer offers a Black Canaries synopsis:

In 1907, the Maple coalmine collapsed and blinded the Lockwood family’s youngest boy and killed the hauling mule. To keep his surviving family warm against the winds of the vacant prairie, Father has no choice but to continue drudging the depths and extract coal from the ruinous mine.

As his pickaxe wails far below earth’s surface, he discovers a rare mineral coveted by a secret society of the town’s miners. When distilled and ingested through tear ducts, the mineral releases an intoxicating spirit that gives men brief reprieve from their hellish lives. Father’s induction into the inner circle breeds a consuming desire to exhume the family mine for its riches, as his wife and children witness the destructive bond between people and the land they are captive to.

An aspiring player in the local film industry, Kreitzer’s resumé includes a mentorship with Michel Moyse — frequent collaborator of Brian De Palma, Jonathan Demme and Woody Allen. The Iowa City-based filmmaker currently teaches at the UI’s Department of Cinematic Arts, having previously served as executive director for Iowa City’s Bijou Theater (now partnered with FilmScene).

Kreitzer’s work usually takes on narrative or documentary modes that depict rural life, and Black Canaries continues in that vein. Taking place in 1907, the film is a coal-mining folktale inspired by Kreitzer’s own Iowan ancestors and even incorporates a bit of magical realisim. — The Boston Globe has already named the film tour a “Best Bet.”

The event is free to the public, though donations in support of the work-in-progress film are strongly encouraged. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will go to the film’s sponsor, Central Productions, a nonprofit organization that supports films and filmmakers operating outside of the mainstream. More information about Kreitzer’s individual films can be found here.

Lomax is one of several Kreitzer films to be screened on August 22:

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