STORM LAKE Feature Films In Person at AFI Silver


Following the screening, watch a special conversation with directors Beth Levison and Jerry Risius and subject Art Cullen moderated by The Washington Post Media Columnist Margaret Sullivan.

Meet the Cullens — Iowa’s most impressive journalism family. For more than 30 years, Art Cullen, brother John, son Tom, wife Delores and sister-in-law Mary — plus Art’s dog, Peach the newshound — have published The Storm Lake Times, a small-town, twice-weekly newspaper that covers critically important local issues and serves as the glue that holds the community together. But, against the backdrop of a collapsing journalism ecosystem and a crushing pandemic, how can the paper avoid the fate of so many other newspapers? In Beth Levison and Jerry Risius’s charming yet cautionary documentary, we see the Cullens hard at work, occasionally sniping at each other, as they meet the moment, one deadline at a time. As Art says, “Without strong local journalism to tell a community’s story, the fabric of the place becomes frayed.” –Ken Jacobson

Continue the conversation on DOCS Connect, with filmmaker in attendance to respond to your questions, here.

Jerry Risius, Director/Cinematographer
Iowa-born and raised, Jerry Risius brings over 25 years experience as a cinematographer on such projects as THE KINGMAKER (Toronto Int’l Film Festival 2019), GENERATION WEALTH (Sundance 2018) and SEEING ALLRED (Sundance 2018) to STORM LAKE, his directorial debut.

Beth Levison, Director/Producer
NYC-based, Beth Levison’s most recent producing credits include WOMEN IN BLUE (Tribeca Film Festival, 2019), MADE IN BOISE (AFI DOCS, 2018) and 32 PILLS (Hot Docs, 2017). STORM LAKE marks her return to directing after a 10-year pause. She is a co-founder of the Documentary Producers Alliance and an AMPAS member.

Jeffrey Winter
The Film Collaborative
[email protected]


Country: USA

Year: 2021

Directors: Jerry Risius, Beth Levison

Producer: Beth Levison

Executive Producers: Katy Drake Bettner, Sam Bisbee, Pamela Tanner Boll, Sally Jo Fifer, Megan Gelstein, Lois Vossen

Director of Photography: Jerry Risius

Editors: Rachel Shuman, Leah Boatright

Music: Andrew Bird, Alan Hampton

Running Time (minutes): 85

Language: English

Accessibility: Closed Captions Available


Supported Provided by:

America's Newspapers

News Media Alliance