Saturday, September 26, 2015

A Worthy Group of Midwest Emmy Nominees

The 2015 nominees in the Upper Midwest Emmys category of Best Documentary: Historical are about as far away as imaginable from all that Hollywood TV awards season politicking that just culminated at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. The winner will be announced in Bloomington, Minnesota Saturday October 3rd.*

There's The Girl From Birch Creek, a look at the first woman appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court, narrated by NPR's Nina Totenberg; the Iowa Public Television film Iowans Remember Vietnam; the fourth installment of Lost Twin Cities, which chronicles buildings from the past in Minneapolis and St. Paul; and Temples of Justice, a South Dakota Public Broadcasting examination of state courthouses.

There's also West by Orphan Train, which recently won an American Association for State and Local History award. Inspired by a book by Clark Kidder and directed by Colleen Bradford Krantz, the film revisits a largely forgotten bit of U.S. history:

It seems incomprehensible that there was a time in America’s not-so-distant past when nearly a quarter of a million children from East Coast orphanages were loaded on trains and sent west, where they were presented "for the picking."West by Orphan Train will tell the story of these children, who were taken from a sometimes-rough existence to an unfamiliar rural setting during an era that lasted from 1854 to 1929. As some of the last of the still-living orphan train riders like to remind us, it was a different era - one that can’t be judged without understanding what lives were like then.

Ahead of the Midwest Emmys, Krantz, who spent five years as a reporter with the Des Moines Register and currently works for the weekly public TV show Market to Market, will be free-screening the December 2014 effort at the public library in Ottumwa on Tuesday September 29th. Again, about as far away as imaginable from a Primetime Emmys final-week event in Tinseltown.

Good luck to all five nominated documentaries.

*Update (October 4th):
Congrats to West by Orphan Train. It shared the prize with Iowans Remember Vietnam.

[2015 Upper Midwest Emmys]

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