Galesburg Premiere of Documentary Film about Carl Sandburg

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

On September 15th, via the Black Earth Film Festival, one of Galesburg’s favorite sons returns. Carl Sandburg, the baby born in a tiny house down on 3rd street who became an iconic American figure and the voice of “the people” returns by way of the big screen in a newly released documentary, The Day Carl Sandburg Died.

Carl Sandburg died in July of 1967, but filmmaker Paul Bonesteel finds Sandburg’s life story and creative legacy as relevant and provocative today as it was in 1916 when Chicago Poems changed American poetry.

“Labor unrest, global wars, socialism, immigration and race issues… this was the subject matter that fueled Sandburg for much of his poetry and writing that shocked the world,” said Bonesteel.  “The intensity of his work was over simplified later in his life.  He was both a deeply patriotic American and an anarchist.”

The Day Carl Sandburg Died, will screen on Thursday, September 15rd at 7:00 pm at the Carl Sandburg Community College Auditorium.

More than 6 years in the making, The Day Carl Sandburg Died, features a cast of notable scholars, performers and Sandburg family members including Sandburg’s daughter, Helga Sandburg Crile.   Pete Seeger, Norman Corwin, the late Studs Terkel and contemporary poets Marc Kelly Smith, Ted Kooser and others provide commentary on the modern relevance of Sandburg’s vast body of work.

Integral to telling the story are two Galesburg residents and Knox College professors, historians Robin Metz and Rodney Davis.  In addition, Galesburg contributed a large cast of extras, a poetry slam, locations, historical photos and artifacts for the shooting of the film during several trips the production company made to Illinois.

“The people of Galesburg were great. Being here to shoot brought an authenticity and enthusiasm for the subject that was really important to me.”  Said Bonesteel.

The Day Carl Sandburg Died tells the story of Sandburg with a decidedly contemporary perspective; described by one critic as “a delightful and uplifting amalgam of archival footage, commentary, spoken word performance and songbook selections, the film is a worthy edifice to a monumental American.”

Veteran documentary filmmaker Paul Bonesteel has been making films since the mid 1980’s with his most recent being The Great American Quilt Revival (2005) and The Mystery of George Masa (2003).

More information about Black Earth Film Festival, tickets and a schedule of events are available at http://www.blackearthfilmfestival.org .  For more information about The Day Carl Sandburg Died visit www.thedaycarlsandburgdied.com.