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The American Presidents Film & Literary Festival will take place September 27th – October 7th in Fremont, Ohio, home of America’s first presidential library. This new film festival focuses on the American Presidency through the themes of people, places, politics and power.
The literary component will include talks by featured authors and essay and poetry contests. Several community partners, including the Liberty and Learning Foundation, Birchard Public Library, Fremont City Schools and the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums, are organizing the festival.
In addition to films about the American Presidency, the festival will feature a keynote talk by Kirk Ellis, screenwriter for the HBO series “John Adams” and an event by children’s book author Connie Remlinger Trounstine, who wrote “Fingerprints on the Table: The Story of the White House Treaty Table.” More exciting events are being planned.
It will take place at various locations around Fremont, including The Strand Concert Theater, Fremont City Schools, the Hayes Presidential Library & Museums and Birchard Public Library.
Kirk Ellis won two Emmys, a WGA Award, a Peabody and the Humanitas Prize for his work as writer and co-executive producer on the HBO miniseries “John Adams.” The miniseries won a record breaking 13 Emmys in total, as well as four Golden Globe awards. Previously, Ellis received an Emmy nomination and won the WGA Award and Humanitas Prize for the ABC miniseries “Anne Frank,” which he wrote and co-produced. Miniseries on which he has served as writer and producer have garnered more than 50 Emmy nominations.
Currently, Ellis is developing a dramatic series set in the world of Chinese American night clubs in World War II, based on the Lisa See novel “China Dolls” and produced in conjunction with actor/producer Daniel Dae Kim. With Bryan Cranston and ITV Entertainment, Ellis is executive producer and writer of “A Great Improvisation,” based on the book by Stacy Schiff, which chronicles Benjamin Franklin’s efforts to negotiate a treaty with France at the height of the American Revolution. He is also collaborating with producer Tim Kring (“Heroes”) and Imperative Entertainment for “Explorers,” a limited series based on the great explorations of the 19th and early 20th centuries, commencing with Burton and Speke and the Quest for the Nile.
Upcoming motion picture projects include “Age of Reason,” based on an incident in the life of Thomas Paine; the bilingual feature “El Democrata,” based on the life of Mexican Revolutionary hero Francisco Madero, and a biography of the Marquis de Lafayette for director Jean-Francois Richet (“Mesrine”) and Why Not Productions. Ellis is also co-author of “The Order: 1886,” a history-based videogame for Sony, which debuted to record sales in February 2015. With Santa Fe-based Atalaya Productions, he is developing the television series “The Harvey Girls” and “In the Kingdom of Ice,” based on the best-selling non-fiction adventure by Hampton Sides.
Ellis’ collaboration with Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks on the miniseries “Into the West” brought him the Western Writers of America’s Golden Spur Award for Best Drama Script for the episode “Hell on Wheels.” He also received the Wrangler Award for Best Television Feature from the National Western Heritage Museum for his work on the miniseries, on which Ellis served as writer and supervising producer.
A graduate of the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema and Television, Ellis began his professional career as a film critic for The Hollywood Reporter, and at age 24 served as the magazine’s international editor. In 1992 he formed Shadow Catcher Productions, an independent production banner under which Ellis develops his own indie features and documentaries. Ellis made his feature film debut writing and co-producing “The Grass Harp,” based on the coming-of-age novel by Truman Capote.
A former co-governor of the writers’ branch of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Ellis served for four years as chairman of the Santa Fe, New Mexico Arts Commission. Currently the president-elect of Western Writers of America, he also sits on the advisory board of Richmond, Virginia-based James River Writers.
Children’s book author Connie Remlinger Trounstine will discuss her book “Fingerprints on the Table,” which focuses on White House Treaty Table and the people who have used it from politicians and foreign dignitaries to kids who lived in the White House.
Trounstine explains how she came to write “Fingerprints on the Table”:
This story began for me with an Associated Press newspaper article in 1998. “There were cheers and shouts and handshakes in the East Room as the leaders signed the agreement on a walnut conference table used for historic occasions, beginning with the signing of the peace accord ending the Spanish American War in 1898.”
There, in the photograph, was President Bill Clinton with Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, Jordan’s King Hussein and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signing an agreement.
Imagine, a table that eight presidents – both Republicans and Democrats – had used for a specific purpose – to sign treaties designed to bring peace. Imagine, a treasure in the White House that had been passed down from generation to generation. Imagine, if this table could talk, what stories it could tell.
I traced this beautiful hunk of walnut carved into a table made for a president back to when it was purchased for $465 from a New York furniture manufacturer known for its high-quality product uniquely designed for each commission.
This table…the Treaty Table…has been an eye-witness to history since our country began healing after a bloody Civil War. The table built by immigrants who came our shores with dreams of a better life has touched hearts and recorded fingerprints.
This table today is as strong and resilient as the United States itself.
A native of Delphos, Ohio, Trounstine graduated from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She worked as an editorial assistant at Writer’s Market, an annual resource publication for freelance writers.
She then joined the staff of The Kentucky Post, a Scripps Howard newspaper. As a reporter, she covered local and state education; county and state government. She also is the author of books “The Worst Christmas Ever” and “The Phantom Five.” She spends her free time fly fishing in Montana and golfing. She lives in Cincinnati.
Trounstine will have a public event at Fremont City Schools during the film festival and also visit elementary schools in the district during the school day.