Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 21, 2018

Going to the movies

Ainsworth Brinton Film Festival to be held later this month
Jul 10, 2018

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


AINSWORTH — It’s time to grab some popcorn and warm up the film projector as the 22nd annual Ainsworth Brinton Film Festival and Ice Cream Social will be held later this month.

The 22nd annual running of the Ainsworth Brinton Film Festival and Ice Cream Social will be held Friday and Saturday evenings, July 27 and 28, in the Ainsworth Opera House and give individuals the chance to view the Brinton silent movies narrated by local historian Michael Zahs.

The doors open for the event at 7 p.m. both nights. The Brinton silent movies will be shown from 7:45 to 8:45 p.m. The films have been called the most significant collection of their kind in the world and date from 1895 to 1908. They were originally shown in Ainsworth over 100 years ago. A free-will donation will be collected and proceeds will go to support the opera house.

Zahs said the Ainsworth festival is the longest running film festival in Iowa. He said one festival had started in Tipton before the Ainsworth festival, but it no longer operates. He also said it is the only festival that shows period films before 1919. Because of the documentary “Saving Brinton,” the film festival has been publicized all over the world.

“It is just fun that what we have been showing in Ainsworth for 22 years has become a really big deal,” Zahs said. “Time magazine saw our film of the Brooklyn Bridge and said it was the only copy of this film in the world.”

Frank Brinton began shooting the films as early as 1879. The festival is like the traveling festivals that were held 120 years ago. Since the release of the documentary film on the restored movies was released, the films have been shown all over the world along with the documentary.

The Brinton films and slides have attracted attention from around the world. The collection is now being displayed at the University of Iowa.

He said the plan is to show some films that hadn’t been shown previously.

While “Saving Brinton” can’t be shown at the event, Zahs said that the documentary will be discussed as well as future dates for the showing of the film.

The Brinton Films were discovered when a man had asked Zahs if he was interested in taking some films that had been discovered in the basement of a local residence.

Zahs said that 22 yeas ago he had discovered two film projectors at the school that were no longer in use because the sound didn’t work. The films, however, were silent, so he didn’t need the sound. As a result he began showing the Brinton films. He said the event has grown since.

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