Poet Robert Frost looks at the congressional medal after it was presented to him March 26, 1962, by President John F. Kennedy at a White House ceremony. The award was for his contribution to American letters. The white-haired poet, who is celebrating his 88th birthday, remarked, “This is a great, great, great thing.” In the background, from left, are Sen. Leverett Saltonstall, R-MA; Interior Secretary Stewart Udall; Sen. A. Willis Robertson, D-VA. (AP Photo).

FREMONT, Ohio – A documentary about President John F. Kennedy’s last speech, which took place in November 1963 at Amherst College, will be shown this fall at the American Presidents Film & Literary Festival.

“JFK: The Last Speech,” directed by Bestor Cram, is one of the feature films that will be featured at the festival Friday, Oct. 4 – Sunday, Oct. 6, at various locations in Fremont.

In addition, Amherst College graduate Dr. Roger Mills, who witnessed the speech and is an associate producer on the film, will introduce the film before each of its showings.

A schedule of showtimes and tickets will be available at americanpresidentsfilmfestival.org.

“JFK: The Last Speech” explores the dramatic relationship between two seminal Americans, President John F. Kennedy and the poet Robert Frost, which reached its tragic climax in a surprising encounter with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev at the height of the Cold War.

Born out of these events was Kennedy’s remarkable speech about poetry and power, which altered the life course of a group of Amherst college classmates who witnessed this compelling address and continue to exemplify in their contemporary lives a portrait of the challenges facing America.

Mills graduated from Amherst College in 1964.  As his class celebrated its 50th reunion, class members realized that Kennedy’s speech at Amherst had taken its rightful place as a classic and that Kennedy’s words were still relevant today.

Organizing as Reunion ’64, Inc., a non-profit corporation, a group of classmates funded a documentary film and a companion book, both titled “JFK: The Last Speech.”

             Mills contributed to and co-edited the book. The film premiered at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston on May 2018.

American Public Television acquired film rights. The film has shown more than 400 times on public television and at numerous film festivals, including winning best documentary honors and the 2018 New Jersey Film Festival.

            This film and others selected for the American Presidents Film & Literary Festival have some connection to the American presidency and touch in some way, directly or loosely, on the themes of people, places, politics, and power.

            Awards will be given for the best feature-length film, best short film, best production, and people’s choice. Attendees can vote for their favorite film through the people’s choice contest. Ballot boxes will be located at each theater.

The American Presidents Film & Literary Festival is the only film and literary festival in the United States to focus on the American presidency. It will take place at The Strand Concert Theater, Fremont Middle School, the Hayes Presidential Library & Museums, Birchard Public Library, and Live Edge Center.

In addition to films, the festival includes a cooking class with a former White House chef, talks by authors and historians, an escape room geared toward teens, lantern tours of the Hayes Presidential Library & Museums’ grounds with living history presenters, a red carpet event with a keynote talk about Adrian Miller, author of “The President’s Kitchen Cabinet” and more.

The American Presidents Film & Literary Festival is organized by the Liberty and Learning Foundation, Fremont City Schools, Birchard Public Library, Hayes Presidential Library & Museums, and Downtown Fremont.

The festival is committed to providing a place for expanded national and international understanding of the history and current events that have and continue to shape and influence the President of the United States. Utilizing the site and community of America’s first presidential library and museum, filmmakers, film professionals, and authors will inspire audiences to explore, understand, critique and analyze the people, places, politics, and power surrounding the American Presidency.

For information, visit americanpresidentsfilmfestival.org and follow on Facebook and Twitter at @ampresfilmlit.