Acclaimed STORM LAKE on family’s fight for community, local newspaper, journalism’s future

Award-winning documentary Storm Lake on family’s fight for community, local newspaper, journalism’s future is now in theaters and has its national TV debut on PBS on November 15.

Featured on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross

“The battle to keep journalism alive.”

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Storm Lake is an elegiac heartland portrait…colored by the hope of endurance, both for the newspaper and the community it represents.”

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Award-Winning Documentary Has Nationwide Theatrical Tour Ahead of November TV & Streaming Release

Screening in dozens of cities including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Des Moines, Washington, DC leading up to the National TV Debut in November on PBS

One family’s fight to unite and inform their rural Iowan farming community through their biweekly newspaper

Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Art Cullen and his family fight to unite and inform their rural Iowan farming community through their biweekly newspaper, The Storm Lake Times—even as the paper hangs on by a thread. Twice a week, they work as civic watchdogs to protect their hometown and the legacy of credible journalism, at large—come hell or pandemic. 

Featuring an original score by Andrew Bird with Alan Hampton

PBS Independent Lens
Monday, November 15 at 10:00 pm ET


“Beth Levison and Jerry Risius’s profound documentary is simultaneously a love letter to and a eulogy for local news—even more than that, it’s a sincere inquiry into the meaning of community and the role played by the dissemination of information in holding together further distabled societal connections”
“I laughed out loud at times and tearfully celebrated and mourned this endangered medium.”

– Kathleen Sachs, Chicago Reader

Storm Lake provides a penetrating, insider look at the struggle of a family-owned-and-operated newspaper trying to remain relevant, survive, and thrive in the age of journalism-by-the-algorithms, Trumpism, and COVID-19.”
“Over the course of…Storm Lake, a momentous media struggle sweeping small town USA is played out.”
– Ed Rampell, The Progressive

“By the end, we have come not only to love the real-life characters at The Storm Lake Times, but everyone we meet, including Lorena Lopez of the Spanish-language paper, La Prensa, who wants to combine resources with Cullen so they can double their reach in two languages. So many people appear to care about news that matters, and that’s a heartening sight. Perhaps the apocalypse is not quite nigh. Read on!” 
– Christopher Llewellyn Reed, Hammer to Nail

“Here’s a paean to journalism, old style. It’s also a near obituary for shoe leather journalism as it was practiced, especially in America’s small towns. It is also a chronicle of a close-knit family, the Cullens, who don’t want their decades-long work to die along with America’s small newspapers. Told in the no-nonsense tones of the laconic Midwest, Storm Lake mixes a bit of Lake Woebegone with ‘All the President’s Men.’”
– Mike Canning, Hill Rag

“It’s one of the best looks at small-town life and how it’s possible to silence naysayers just by doing good work.”
– Bruce R. Miller, Quad-City Times

Starting On: November 15, 2021
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