By Wayne Allen
The films River Voices: Portrait of an American River Community and Beyond these Walls: Building Community Through Public Art are set to be aired nationally by PBS (Public Broadcast System).
“The PBS station WOSU-TV in Columbus, OH which premiered the documentary film produced by son, Nathan, and myself on the Portsmouth Floodwall Murals entitled ‘Beyond these Walls: Building Community Through Public Art’ on February 16, 2014. WOSU-TV also aired our recently re-mastered film on the 1937 Ohio River Flood in Portsmouth, ‘River Voices: Portrait of an American River Community’ on February 23rd, which they had originally aired during the Ohio Bi-Centennial Year in 2003,” said Dr. John Lorentz, of Lorentz Productions. “They chose to sponsor both of these films for nationwide distribution on PBS. This is coming to fruition. The national satellite feed to PBS stations nationwide for both of these films is occurring on August 16th.”
As part of the initial showing, WOSU has asked for distribution rights to the films. John Lorentz said the distribution rights would allow WOSU to put their name on the film and provide it as a feed to other Public Broadcasting Stations (PBS) across the country.
John Lorentz said WOSU had a condition of the showing “the program had to be 57 minutes long to fit in an hour time slot.” He said the original film is 68 minutes long.
“The way it works is that any PBS station can choose to air one or both films at a time and date August 16th or afterward, fitting into their local program needs. All PBS Program Directors have on their desks now the publicity info and the satellite feed date and time,” John Lorentz said. “How can you help? Call your local PBS TV Station and tell the Program Director that you would like to view the films. We are told that they pay close attention to what their local consumers are interested in.”
John Lorentz said WOSU-TV will be showing an encore presentation prior to the national feed on Tuesday, August 5 at 8 p.m.
“Obviously, Nathan and I are highly pleased and how pleasant that Portsmouth, receives national exposure in a positive light,” John Lorentz said.
The film premiered in November of 2013 at Shawnee State University’s Vern Riffe Center for the Arts.
“It (Beyond these Walls) tells a story in which the major theme is the role that public art has to play in developing a sense of community” John Lorentz said at the premiere. “We’re really looking at is the interaction of the community and viewers with the wall. Part of that story is how did this (Portsmouth Murals) come into creation. How do you take a blank piece of concrete and turn it into something beautiful that people react to and are connected to in someway?”
Also at the premiere, Nathan Lorentz said that as a filmmaker and musician he was interested in how art can change a perception of reality and understanding of the world.
“What I began to realize when I looked at everything we shot, was that the murals really were having an impact. It’s just that impact was not as evident in a physical or economic sense,” Nathan Lorentz said. “What I’ve seen in Portsmouth is that art was changing people, how they were thinking, how they were seeing themselves and how they were seeing this town. To me, that was the most interesting part of the story because real change and understanding being internally.”
John Lorentz told those in attendance at the premiere, the making of “Beyond These Walls” had been an extraordinary journey.
For more information about the film visit www.floodwallfilm.org
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT