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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • ‘Tom Benton’s Missouri’ coming to Leach

  • In honor of its 20th anniversary, the documentary “Tom Benton’s Missouri” is being re-released in high definition and will be shown at the Leach Theatre on the Missouri University of Science and Technology campus in October.
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  • In honor of its 20th anniversary, the documentary “Tom Benton’s Missouri” is being re-released in high definition and will be shown at the Leach Theatre on the Missouri University of Science and Technology campus in October.
    The remastered documentary about artist Thomas Hart Benton is scheduled to be shown Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 7 p.m. at the Leach Theatre in Castleman Hall located at 10th and Main Streets in Rolla.
    The film also is being shown at public screenings at the other UM campuses in October.
    The award-winning documentary, originally released in 1992, was directed by Dr. James J. Bogan Jr., curators’ teaching professor emeritus of art history and film at Missouri S&T, and Frank Fillo, former director of the UM System’s Cooperative Media Group.
    Benton is known for his paintings on the walls of the House Lounge in the Missouri State Capitol building in Jefferson City.
    “We wanted to try to recreate for the viewer the experience of standing in the House Lounge and looking in wonder at this mural,” Bogan said. “We hope that seeing the film in high definition will be like looking through the eyes of a sensitive and knowledgeable spectator.
    “Collaboration between campuses, professors and students, as well as the teachers of Missouri, has been the name of the game in refitting ‘Tom Benton’s Missouri’ for another generation of students – and for all Missourians,” Bogan said.
    “Missouri S&T, the University of Missouri-Columbia, and the UM System president’s office have combined talent and resources so that this vivid and evocative film can be seen by everyone. The digital technology employed will make it downloadable for free to anyone who cares to see it.”
    The new version is now available online at tombenton.missouri.edu in a downloadable HD format and includes an educators’ guide that will provide lesson plans, background information about the mural and lyrics and music from the film.
    “The Educators’ Guide to ‘Tom Benton’s Missouri’ ” was a collaborative effort of Luce Myers, lecturer in art at Missouri S&T, Kathleen Unrath, associate professor of art education at UMC, and Abbey Trescott, a teacher at Rock Bridge High School. It contains lessons in art, music, history and communication arts that are customized to suit students from fourth grade through college.
    “This comprehensive study guide is full of interdisciplinary and cooperative learning lessons focusing on three enduring ideas found in the Benton murals – power, story and regional social identity,” Myers said. “It includes Missouri National History Standards for fourth grade and is a good companion for teachers who want to make that history come alive.”
    The restored film also includes an enhanced soundtrack, which features narration by Benton himself and by historian Bob Priddy. Historical ballads written and sung by Bob Dyer provide a musical commentary to Benton’s vivid portrayal of Missouri history that depicts farmers, slaves, politicians, housewives, factory workers, children and businessmen.
    Page 2 of 2 - Fillo, co-director of the original film, coordinated the section on music, which now offers some of the best recordings available of Dyer’s songs about Missouri history. Gerald “Jack” Brown, a senior in civil engineering at Missouri S&T, and Jessica Hicks, an art education student at UMC, served as research assistants on the project.
    Michael Hicks, film and video producer with the UM Extension Cooperative Media Group oversaw the technical challenges of turning 16mm film into the digital HD format.
    The Oct. 23 showing of “Tom Benton’s Missouri” is part of Missouri S&T’s Free Fall 2012 Film Festival. Other films directed by Bogan that will be shown that same night include “Chalk Up Another” and “Naked Bronze: Louis Smart Sculptor in the Ozarks.”
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