Director Paul Bonesteel and The Day Carl Sandburg Died recently traveled to Montreal for the 32nd International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA) where it was honored the “Best Educational Film” award.

    After a hectic few weeks of long distance commercial shoots, Paul was finally able to retreat to the city for cocktails, film viewing and new international friends. The screening of ‘Sandburg’ was opened with an introduction by Paul followed by an extensive Q&A. He cites one of the highlights of his trip as a lovely chat with FIFA Director René Rozon and German filmmaker Evelyn Schels of the movie Georg Baselitz. 

    After returning home to Asheville Paul received notice the film had been selected as a festival winner, and will soon commence on an international tour with the other winners. Stay tuned for a screening schedule as it comes in.

    We couldn’t be more grateful to American Masters for submitting the film to FIFA, and their continued support in its distribution. Finally, Carl is going home to his European roots, only this time joined by a cast of characters including photographer Vivian Maier, artist Susumu Shingu, beat poet Jack Kerouac, ballet dancer and composer Guillaume Côté, Ranchera singer Chavela Vargas, and more, all subjects of the award-winning films.

    For more information FIFA and its continued efforts in films on art, visit their website Art FIFA.





    Guillaume Côté


    Director Paul Bonesteel is headed to Montreal to introduce The Day Carl Sandburg Died at the 32nd International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA) this week. The festival, which includes films from 32 different countries, is an industry-based event dedicated to the worldwide promotion and presentation of films on art and media art. We are very thrilled to be part of such a global and multi-faceted celebration!

    The screening is especially timely, harking back not only to our previous post on the 100th anniversary of Sandburg’s iconic poem “Chicago” this month, but also the January passing of Sandburg’s daughter and author Helga Sandburg Crile and folk singer Pete Seeger, who are both interviewed in the film.

    Paul remarked the other day, “Making independent documentary films is not easy. Sometimes, at the most critical juncture, one comment, one moment can clarify if you should keep going. Two of these moments were in my time spent with Helga and Pete. They gave themselves to all of us in many ways, but for me, simply inspired me to persevere.”

    FIFA is just another chance to share their words, and Sandburg’s immense influence. Paul will introduce the film on Thursday, March 27 at 9pm at the University of Quebec at Montreal. For more information on the festival and jury prizes check out Art FIFA.

  • Sandburg is seeing a resurgence of his Illinois roots in the most recent exhibit by the Elmhurst Historical Museum, “Carl Sandburg in Elmhurst,” and in a write-up from the Chicago Tribune on the timeless quality of his most famous poem, “Chicago.”

    One hundred years ago, Chicago was not defined in the public psyche as a brawny city of industry, housing a fearless (yet laughing) population of workers, movers and shakers; a place that Norman Mailer, years later, would identify as one of the ‘last of the great American cities.” And in the wake of a brutal winter, this onward resiliency is applicable to Chicago as ever, a town Sandburg would still be proud to live in and write about.

    The poem was first published in the infant Poetry Magazine in March of 1914. Robert Polito, president of the Poetry Foundation, is quoted in the Tribune on the revolutionary use of “Chicago’s” now-modern cliches. “They have a kind of omnipresence that makes it a little bit difficult for us to think and feel our way back to how original and daring this was.”

    “Hog Butcher for the World,

    Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,

    Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler;

    Stormy, husky, brawling,

    City of the Big Shoulders:”

    Sandburg’s work, it seems, is so engrained in the American identity, that it has somehow deemed his legacy as old-fashioned, says Lance Tawzer, curator at Elmhurst. But, upon closer look, Chicago, the poem and city, are still as alive, coarse, strong and cunning as in 1914. 

    Scheduled Sandburg Events:

    •”Stormy, Husky, and Brawling for 100 Years” at 5 p.m. March 12 at the Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton St.; free, newberry.org

    •”Carl Sandburg in Elmhurst” runs through April 20 at the Elmhurst Historical Museum, 120 E. Park Ave., Elmhurst; 630-833-1457 or elmhursthistory.org

    •”Favorite Poem Project: Chicago” begins online in April atpoetryfoundation.org/favoritepoemchicago

  • The magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Humanities, recently published the feature “A Workingman’s Poet,” assessing the fading profile of the American icon Carl Sandburg. Author Danny Heitman discusses Sandburg’s bold statements made in Chicago Poems, his re-introduction of Lincoln on the eve of WWII, and his American haiku-type work in “Fog.” Heitman also cites The Day Carl Sandburg Died cast members Penelope Niven and Ted Kooser.

    From the article: “Sandburg enjoyed unrivaled appeal as a poet in his day, perhaps because the breadth of his experiences connected him with so many strands of American life. Poet and performer, biographer and lecturer, salesman and singer, political activist and freewheeling newspaperman, Sandburg seemed to be everywhere and do everything, creating a personal narrative that captured the public imagination and made him a natural media figure.”

  • John Hallwas, a historian and columnist for the “McDonough County Voice,” recently wrote a piece on the importance of remembering Sandburg in the modern age. The column explores Sandburg’s poetic probes into the American spirit like in “Prairie,” an ode to unity in the heartland or “Mags” from “Chicago Poems” where a downcast worker laments his inability to provide a better life for his family.

    Thanks to John for illustrating timely applications to Sandburg’s wise words! Read the article here: Carl Sandburg and the issue of remembrance