Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Major Progress for Carl Sandburg film

Some exciting events over the past few months have moved us much closer to being able to completing and broadcasting the Sandburg film. Back in June, I met with the creator and executive producer, Susan Lacy of WNET and the American Masters program initiating on-going communication that will hopefully lead to The Day Carl Sandburg Died airing on American Masters.

In September, I spent some quality time with John Carl Steichen, Sandburg's grandson, reviewing the families private collection of home movies and other archival material. John was kind with his time, running the projector as we explored film of Sandburg from the 1920's to the 1960's. The films include moments only seen by family members from the 1920's and remarkably humorous and insightful material that we have not seen before from other television shows and interviews from the 1950's.

Just last week we were notified that we will receive a much needed grant from the Nebraska Humanities Council. This makes the Humanities Councils of North Carolina, Illinois and Nebraska all contributors to our film. A recent presentation before the Friends of Carl Sandburg at Connemara prompted some local press, see the article at this link.

Next year is the bicentennial celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birth and the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission is coordinating and supporting a very exciting year of events, some of which have already begun. They are currently reviewing material about our film to (hopefully) certify it as an officially supported project of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. Sandburg's work on Lincoln was arguably his most influential, leading millions of Americans to a better understanding of Lincoln and the Civil War. A recent event was held in Washington DC presenting poetry by and about Lincoln, including Sandburg's "Cool Tombs".

We continue to edit, research material and re-draft the script while we negotiate additional funding and partnerships to finish the film asap. Hopefully in 2009.


Jill H-A said...

Tremendous Paul and very encouraging. I think Susan Lacy has found her film maker for Sandburg as your sensibilities for Sandburg are sincere. I miss being around the old home place.

Lincoln Buff 2 said...


The project is so exciting, and it's also so neat to see John Carl playing a role in keeping his grandfather's legacy alive. We can read about Carl, listen to his music and view films, but meeting someone close to him makes him even more real. It's always been exciting to hear Helga read her father's poetry or talk about him. It must have been the same for you with John Carl.

It had to be so neat for you to sit there and see the family films with the grandson who likely sat by Carl's knee as he strummed the guitar or ran through the office as he pecked at the keys on that old manual typewriter. Your image is the first I've seen of John Carl in many years. I can certainly see the Sandburg and the Steichen traits both in him. Thanks for sharing the photo.

I just finished reading all your blog entries. This will truly be a phenomenal project. You have such depth and breadth collected. I can't wait to see how it pulls together.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see you are getting support from Nebraska Humanities Council. There is so much Nebraskans can relate with in Carl Sandburg's poetry.

I anxiously await the film.