Rollin’ out the red carpet in Lansing ...

Approximately 200 area residents (many of whom are pictured below) gathered at TJ Hunter’s Banquet Hall Thursday, June 20 for the premiere of “The Burial,” a short independently made film by Iowa native Jack Meggers filmed primarily in the Lansing area. A festive atmosphere surrounded the audience as they situated themselves with popcorn and refreshments, two necessary accompaniments to going to a movie. Many of them had previously seen the cast and crew in the Lansing area filming a year ago. Some came out of curiosity, wanting to know what a film billed as a “supernatural-psychological thriller” might have to say about the Driftless area. In addition to the film viewing, local residents took the opportunity to have some of their own “red carpet” moments with those involved in the film. Pictured in the center photo, members of the Betty and late Lloyd Welsh family had some fun with their “red carpet” photo opportunity with the film’s lead actress, Nokomis Leaman-Logsdon. Pictured above, film director Jack Meggers stands with rural Lansing residents Steve and Patty Scholtes, upon whose acreage a majority of the outdoor scenes for the movie were filmed last year.

Meggers, an Iowa Arts Council Fellow, has been editing the film for approximately eight months, while he worked at other jobs in the Des Moines area to help support his efforts. Just prior to the premiere, he had driven in from Des Moines, where he said he had spent the last 48 hours re-doing the sound mix for the film since the previous one didn’t work. Leaman-Logsdon had flown in from New York City.

Although there were a few technical glitches with the actual showing of the film, audience members were very pleased and receptive to the venture. Audience members Nancy and Darrel Wortman from Lansing said, “We thought the movie plot line was good and it was great to identify so many familiar local scenes… I didn’t realize we were seeing just a teaser portion of the film. I guess we’ll have to wait until it is released. It was a wonderful turnout!”

Another Lansing audience member, Ellen Modersohn, stated, “It was fun to see so many recognizable Lansing-area places up on the big screen. I thought Meggers made the most of the local scenery in establishing a beautiful yet moody atmosphere for the film.”

Local librarian Derva Burke, who had assisted Meggers with some research for the film, said “I was sitting at the edge of my seat. Can’t wait for the full story. It left me hanging.”

Laura Gentry of Lansing, along with Nancy and Ted Sojka of Decorah, represented the  Oneota Film Festival, which will be held February 6-9, 2020 in Decorah. The film is being considered for inclusion in the next festival. They shared, “Ted and I were impressed by how ‘local’ the actors appeared in their performances. All three of them seemed like people we know in the Driftless Region. Good casting! And we loved identifying known places, of course.”

The film was also shown in Des Moines Saturday, June 22. That Des Moines premiere of “The Burial” was held at the State Historical Building. A more extensive follow-up interview with Meggers about the film’s premiere showings will follow. Report and photos by Susan Cantine-Maxson.

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