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New Films Document Devastation, Hope In Aftermath Of Joplin Tornado

The EF-5 tornado in Joplin, Missouri in May 2011 killed 161 people and a left city and its residents devastated.

Two filmmakers - Beth Pike and Erica Tremblay - have created films documenting the disaster, the fallout, and what they call a “remarkable recovery.”

Host Don Marsh talked with Pike and Tremblay as well as Joplin Globe reporter Wally Kennedy to discuss “Deadline in Disaster” and “Heartland: A Portrait of Survival.” Both films open at the St. Louis International Film Festival tonight.

Pike’s film “Deadline in Disaster” chronicles the events at the Joplin Globe, a community newspaper that continued publishing during the disaster.

“Our approach was to mainly put a face on what community newspapers do all across this country... our mission was mainly just to see what goes on at a community newspaper, to [show] that these writers are very connected to a community. They're everyday people, and they’re heroes too. In times of tragedy like this they’re there to help out,” Pike said.

All three guests say Joplin has made substantial progress in rebuilding.  Thousands of volunteers came to the city to assist with the clean-up.  But Tremblay, a Joplin native who now lives in Los Angeles, says the emotional scars remain.

“[Making “Heartland] turned out to be a great experience just for myself to heal. We got to go back a year after to show the film, and it seemed to be cathartic, almost like a therapy session,” Tremblay said.

Both directors and Kennedy will attend the 6:30 p.m. screening tonight at Plaza Frontenac Cinema.

Related Event

2012 St. Louis International Film Festival Presents "Deadline in Disaster" and "Heartland: A Portrait of Survival"
Thursday, November 15, 2012
6:30 p.m.
Plaza Frontenac Cinema
(314) 289-4150

With assistance from Ariana Tobin

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Alex is the executive producer of "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.
Mary Edwards came to St. Louis Public Radio in 1974, just after finishing her Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She has served the station in a number of capacities over the years. From 1988-2014 she also taught an undergraduate class in radio production at Webster University. Mary was inducted into the St. Louis Media History Foundation Media Hall of Fame in April, 2017 and received the Gateway Media Literacy Partners' Charles Klotzer Media Literacy Award in 2012. Mary retired from St. Louis Public Radio in 2018, but still serves the station as a St. Louis Symphony Producer.
Don Marsh served as host of St. Louis Public Radio’s “St. Louis on the Air" from 2005 to 2019, bringing discussions of significant topics to listeners' ears at noon Monday through Friday. Don has been an active journalist for 58 years in print, radio and television. He has won 12 Regional Emmy Awards for writing, reporting, and producing. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, was inducted into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame in 2013, and named “Media Person of the Year” by the St. Louis Press Club in 2015. He has published three books: his most recent, “Coming of Age, Liver Spots and All: A Humorous Look at the Wonders of Getting Old,” “Flash Frames: Journey of a Journeyman Journalist” and “How to be Rude (Politely).” He holds an honorary Doctor of Arts and Letters degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

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