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"Hollywood in the Heartland" Exhibit Opens

Autographed scripts, vintage costumes, and movie reels. These are some of the features of "Hollywood in the Heartland," the first blockbuster museum exhibition of its kind in Iowa. The exhibit opened today at the State Historical Museum in Des Moines.

Spokesman Doug Miller says it showcases 100 years of film history, from the time when production houses started distributed films to mass audiences, until now. It shows the strong ties writers, directors, filmmakers, and producers had to the Midwest.

"For instance, the Avati brothers from Rome who came into the Quad Cities to make a film about Bix Biederbecke and his life, and ended up making nine motion pictures in the Quad Cities over a period of about 20 years. It's those kinds of unique experiences that you wouldn't expect to find in the middle of the Heartland."

Iowa has been the inspiration of many major motion pictures, such as "The Bridges of Madison County" and "Cold Turkey." Miller says visitors can see artifacts from these films, and more.

"There's multimedia presentations of films being exhibited. For instance, for outdoor movies, there's actually a 1960 car with the film being projected onto its windshield."

He also says Iowans can anticipate a revival of local film festivals and productions that celebrate the state's relationship with Hollywood. "Hollywood in the Heartland" will run for the next three years at the State Historical Museum in Des Moines.

The Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with Preserve Iowa and Produce Iowa Film Coalition, launched the $540,000 project.