Documentary about finding a movie treasure trove to be shown in Gish Theatre (updated)

The new, award winning documentary, “Saving Brinton,” will be screened Saturday, April 7 at 7 p.m. in the Gish Theater at Bowling Green State University as part of the Ray Browne Conference. (Click for more details  on the conference.)

The film is about the discovery of a collection of historic films and documents in a small town in Iowa. In addition to the screening, the audience will get to see some of the oldest films in existence, which have been carefully digitized.

“Saving Brinton” will have showings in New York and Los Angeles, but is making its in Bowling Green first.

The film  tells  how  in a farmhouse basement on the Iowa countryside, eccentric collector Mike Zahs makes a remarkable discovery: the showreels of the man who brought moving pictures to America’s Heartland.

Among the treasures: rare footage of President Teddy Roosevelt, the first moving images from Burma, a lost relic from magical effects godfather Georges Méliés. These are the films that introduced movies to the world. And they didn’t end up in Iowa by accident. The old nitrate reels are just some of the artifacts that belonged to William Franklin Brinton.

From thousands of trinkets, handwritten journals, receipts, posters and catalogs emerges the story of an inventive farmboy who became America’s greatest barnstorming movieman. As Mike uncovers this hidden legacy, he begins a journey to restore the Brinton name that takes us to The Library of Congress, Paris and back for a big screen extravaganza in the same small-town movie theater where Frank first turned on a projector over a century ago.

By uniting community through a pride in their living history, Mike embodies a welcome antidote to the breakneck pace of our disposable society. “Saving Brinton” is a portrait of this unlikely Midwestern folk hero, at once a meditation on living simply and a celebration of dreaming big.

The screening culminates Saturday’s Ray Browne Film Festival.

The schedule is:

Noon- Faculty Showcase

Hacked – Dir. Daniel E. Williams – 2013 – 27 min.

Vida Muertos – Dir. Thomas Javier Castillo – 2017 – 17 min.


2 p.m. – Alumni Showcase

Ideal Dolls – Dir. Sarah Mann – 2017 – 7 min.

Story of the Wild  – Dir. Alex Goetz – 2017 – 3 min.

Sneaky Pete (Clip) – Amazon Series – 2018 – 2 min.

Apothecary’s Cage – Dir. Jake Extine – 2017 – 18 min.


4  p.m.- Undergraduate Film Competition

Separation – Dir. Carolyn Mullins – 2018 – 3 min.

Tubby Hunt – Dir. Adam Panter – 2018 – 5 min.

Tobias – Dir. Tyler Emond – 2018 – 7 min.

There’s No “I” In Black – Dir. Sydney St. André – 2018 – 5 min.

Dilution – Dir. Hailey Ameling – 2017 – 2 min.

Temptation – Dir. Lonnie James Carrier – 2018 – 5 min.

I Saw Him Standing There – Dir. Jennifer Albrecht – 2018 – 4 min.

2627 – Reef Frequent – Dir. Hailey Ameling – 2017 – 2 min.

Balls, Bibs, and Bandanas – Dirs. Tennyson Hendershott and Joelle Anderson – 2018 – 5 min.

A Midwestern Western – Dir. Ryan Nadzam – 2018 – 5 min.


7 p.m. Feature Documentary Screening and Filmmaker Presentation

Saving Brinton – Dirs. Tommy Haines and Andrew Sherburne – 2017 – 90 min.

The documentary will be followed by an exciting presentation by director Tommy Haines and Saving Brinton star Michael Zahs.