Kirk Ellis won two Emmys, a WGA Award, a Peabody and the Humanitas Prize for his work as a 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 drama series set in the world of Chinese American nightclubs 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 video game 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 a 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.

Jack Nachbar 

Professor emeritus, Bowling Green State University 


Fascists, Fools and Action Heroes: Fictional Presidents in Three Movie Periods 

5 – 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5, at The Strand 

10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Hayes Presidential Library & Museums auditorium 

3:15 – 4:45 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at Hayes Presidential Library & Museums conference room  


Jack Nachbar received his Ph.D. in English from Bowling Green in 1974 where he remained to help develop the newly established Department of Popular Culture.  

During his 30 years at Bowling Green, Nachbar taught more than 30 different undergraduate and graduate courses ranging from Shakespeare to silent film. He was director of film studies for 15 years. In 1996, Nachbar received the Undergraduate Alumni Association Master Teacher Award. 

Nachbar is the co-founder of “The Journal of Popular Film and Television” and was co-editor for the next 25 years. He remains a senior associate editor of “JPF&T,” now in its 45th year. 

Nachbar has written or edited 10 books, including a standard text in popular culture courses, “Popular Culture: An Introductory Text” (1992).  

He is the author of more than 25 published articles on popular culture and movies and has presented more than 40 papers at professional meetings. 

Since his retirement from BGSU in 1997, Dr. Nachbar has continued his studies in Hollywood movies. His work serves his community in Northern Minnesota rather than academia. He presents a monthly “Classic Movie Series” at his local arts center.
He also regularly appears on his local public radio station to discuss movies and occasionally contributes essays on a weekly radio show of ideas, “Stay Human.” 

Todd Arrington  

Site manager, James A. Garfield National Historic Site 

Viewing and discussion of “Murder of a President” 

7:30 – 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5, at the Hayes Presidential Library & Museums auditorium 

10:15 – 11:45 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Hayes Presidential Library & Museums conference room 

3 – 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at Hayes Presidential Library & Museums auditorium 


Todd Arrington is a career National Park Service historian and interpreter.    

In 2015, Arrington was promoted to site manager of James A. Garfield National Historic Site. He is responsible for all aspects of the National Park Service’s operation of the site, including interpretation, special events, partnerships, maintenance, budget, and planning.  

e appeared in the PBS American Experience documentary “Murder of a President” about James A. Garfield. The film aired nationally in early 2016.   

Arrington has been published several times on subjects related to the American Civil War and westward expansion. His essay “Industry and Economy during the Civil War” was published in “The Civil War Remembered,” the National Park Service’s official handbook commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. He writes for the popular history blogs “We’re History” and “Emerging Civil War” and is currently writing a book on the 1880 presidential election for the American Presidential Elections series of the University Press of Kansas.   

In discussing the relevant history and National Park Service news and events, he has spoken at dozens of academic conferences and appeared on PBS, C-SPAN, numerous television and radio news programs, Radio Free Europe and National Public Radio.  

He has taught history and humanities classes at several northeast Ohio colleges, including Lake Erie College, John Carroll University, Lorain County Community College and Lakeland Community College. 

He served on active duty in the U.S. Army from 1995-1998. He has a master’s degree from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania and his Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

Jonathan Hennessey 

Author of graphic novel, “The Gettysburg Address” 

Skype session  

2 – 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at Birchard Public Library 

Jonathan Hennessey is a writer of both nonfiction and fiction. American History is generally his muse. 

His graphic novel, “The Gettysburg Address: A Graphic Adaptation,”  used the words of Abraham Lincoln’s immortal speech to tell the whole story of the Civil War from colonial times through to the Civil Rights Era. The book received starred reviews in Kirkus and Library Journal and was also chosen by Library Journal as a “Best Graphic Novel of 2013.” 

The novel was a conceptual follow- up to “The Comic Book Story of Beer,” a nonfiction graphic novel telling the story of the world’s favorite alcoholic beverage from 7,000 B.C. to the present. He co-wrote “The Comic Story of Beer” with longtime friend, professional brewer Mike Smith. 

“The Comic Book Story of Beer” is Jonathan’s third collaboration with artist Aaron McConnell. Their first book release, “The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation,” is an illustrated, graphic novel edition of the entire U.S. Constitution. It was chosen as a “Best Book of 2008” by The Village Voice and a 2009 “Great Graphic Novels for Teens” by the American Library Association. 

He has appeared on “The Rachel Maddow Show,” has guest blogged for Fox News and the American Constitution Society; written for the Austin Chronicle; and has appeared at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, San Diego Comic Con and New York City Comic Con. 

Eric Foner 

Author and professor of history at Columbia University 

Fiery Trial, Skype session 

7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 27, at Birchard Public Library (live session) 

11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at Birchard Public Library (recording replay) 


Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton professor of history at Columbia University, is one of this country’s most prominent historians.  

He will discuss his book “The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery.” 

He is one of only two people to serve as president of the three major professional organizations: the Organization of American Historians, American Historical Association, and Society of American Historians. He is one of a handful to have won the Bancroft and Pulitzer Prizes in the same year. 

Foner’s publications have concentrated on the intersections of intellectual, political and social history and the history of American race relations. 

He has written numerous books, including “Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877.” 

He revised the presentation of American history at the Hall of Presidents at Disney World and Meet Mr. Lincoln at Disneyland, and has served as consultant to several National Parks Service historical sites and historical museums. 

Tom Culbertson 

Former executive director, Hayes Presidential Library & Museums 

Abe Lincoln Political Cartoons 

1 – 1:45 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at Birchard Public Library 

Tom Culbertson was the executive director of the Hayes Presidential Library & Museums from 2005 to 2012.  

Before that, he worked as the director of history and education and manuscripts curator at HPLM.  

Culbertson has been an Army officer, college librarian, stockbroker and archivist. He has served on the boards of community and professional organizations and frequently used his experience in finance to serve as treasurer.   

Culbertson is the author of “Rutherford B. Hayes: A Life of Service.” The Gilded Age, particularly political cartoons, is his academic interest.  

He has a bachelor’s degree in history from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, and a master’s degree in library science with a specialization in archives and manuscripts management from Syracuse University. 

Dustin McLochlin 

Curator, Hayes Presidential Library & Museums 

Ranking the Presidents 

9:15 – 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at Birchard Public Library 

Dustin McLochlin has been the curator at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums since 2017. Before becoming curator, he worked as the education coordinator at HPLM.  

McLochlin has a Ph.D. in policy history from Bowling Green State University. 

Since 1948 scholars have been ranking presidents. In high profile releases from major news outlets and agencies, experts provide some insight in the effectiveness of each man who has inhabited the chief executive position.  

Why do some feel the desire to rank the presidents? What biases are inherent in these rankings? And what do these rankings tell us about what we value? McLochlin will examine these questions in his discussion. 

Meghan Wonderly 

Annual giving and membership coordinator, Hayes Presidential Library & Museums 

Walking with Webb 

10 – 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at Hayes Presidential Library & Museums 

Meghan Wonderly is the author of “A Son’s Dream: Colonel Webb C. Hayes and the Founding of the Nation’s First Presidential Library.” Her book covers the challenges Webb Hayes, son of President Rutherford and First Lady Lucy Hayes, faced and overcame to found the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums in 1916. 

Her program will cover Webb C. Hayes’ founding of the Hayes Presidential Library & Museums and include a look at aspects of the building, including a marble staircase no longer open to the public, that involved Webb.  

She has been actively involved at the Hayes Presidential Library & Museums for years. She is currently the annual giving & membership coordinator at HPLM. 

Wonderly has a bachelor’s degree in English from Oberlin University. She has a master’s degree in History from Bowling Green State University. 

“Walking with Webb” is a walking tour through the museum that highlights specific areas that were key features in construction or important to Webb. Attendees of the talk will see Webb’s staircase that is no longer open to the public and other behind-the-scenes areas. Wonderly will also discuss how HPLM fits into the larger body of presidential libraries and the first and forerunner for the federal presidential library system. 

Larry Michaels 


Presidential Humor 

10:15 – 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at Birchard Public Library 

Presidential Limericks and Poetry 

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, Downtown Fremont Crop Circle Festival 

Larry Michaels is a Lutheran pastor and local history author. He has a Ph.D. in English and taught for many years at the University of Toledo. He and his wife, Suzi, live in Fremont.   

“Humor of the Presidents” is a presentation of the witticisms and humorous remarks made by U.S. Presidents, discussed in the context of the challenges they faced during their terms in office.   

Lincoln, Jefferson, Kennedy, and Reagan were well known for their humor, but most presidents, even Coolidge and Millard Fillmore, surprisingly could show a lighter vein. The use of humor is revealing not only about the man, but also the way they dealt with the most difficult office in the land.