The long awaited release of the documentary, "Called to Walls," premiers at Liberty Hall this Saturday. It’s been six years since the movie started filming, and now the film is showing for one night only.
The alumni-created project features filmmakers Nicholas Ward and Amber Hansen that trails the creation of several murals around the Midwest. It follows local artist David Lowenstein for three years who leads the making of these community murals.
The film chronicles four of the six projects making up the Mid-America Mural project. Marketed as “part road movie, part inspirational art documentary” in the filmmakers' Kickstarter from October 2011, the film is about people in Middle America working together for a cause. Although the documentary wrapped up in 2012, the filmmakers have gone back to add extra footage and interviews. Also, different previews of the film have been shown around campus.
However, the film’s official release is this weekend. It marks the first feature-length project from the two filmmakers.
“The last five years have been remarkable,” Ward said. “It allowed us to discover a love of filmmaking and provided an opportunity to shed light on a wealth of stories that would have otherwise remained local and largely untold.”
"Called to Walls" portrays how tragedies like the Joplin tornado or the Newtown shootings can bring various communities together through the simple art of mural painting.
“This film also provided a platform for us to implement in a meaningful way all of the skills and capacities that we’ve garnered throughout our education. It feels great to be at this stage of the process. It’s also a bit bittersweet,” Ward added.
Bittersweet, indeed. Ward and Hansen went back and added footage before the final product was released.
“It gets said often and it’s certainly true in this case, it is in the editing that the film really comes into being,” Hansen said. “The most difficult part was thinking through and imagining how four projects in four different communities, each with their own stories and characters, could be woven together into a single coherent narrative.”
They also said they began developing their own editing vocabulary and used it during their editing process.
“It’s a fascinating learning curve,” Hansen said.
The towns featured in the film include Tonkawa, Okla., Newton, Kan., Joplin, Mo., and Arkadelphia, Ark.
“To help us frame this process, we had to realign our own perspectives and imagine the mural project itself as a character,” Hansen said.
After the film, Hansen and Ward, Lowenstein, and other muralists involved in the project will host a panel discussion.
Tickets for the film are only $5 and will be followed by an after-party at Decade, a coffee shop lounge on 920 Delaware St. The event will feature live music from bands who have music in the film. The film starts at 7 p.m.
Here is the film's trailer:
— Edited by Mackenzie Walker