Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

It's New Year's Eve, which means it's the final day of our holiday specials.
We've sold our last copy of Heather Lehe's delightful novel, Colony Kids, but through December 31st you can still get our films Alaska Far Away and Where the River Matanuska Flows, as well as a very special deal on the Matanuska Colony 75th Anniversary Scrapbook, through today - with free shipping! Just click here to take advantage of these deals before they go away.
Wishing you all a very happy New Year!
Many thanks to Palmer resident Brit Lively for this beautiful photo taken at the Reindeer Farm in Palmer - a perfect image of Palmer in winter. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas from Alaska Far Away!

We're casting our minds back to December 1935, when those 200+ families in the Matanuska Colony settled in for their first Christmas Alaska, far away from the families they had left behind in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
We're grateful to all who have shared their stories in our films. Happy Holidays!
(and yes, if you're still shopping, we've still got holiday specials going on!)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tonight in Alaska, and Holiday Countdown

A reminder to our Alaska friends: Alaska Far Away returns to KAKM-TV tonight at 7 p.m. We're grateful to Alaska Public Media/KAKM not only for making our film available to Alaska audiences once again, but also for their sponsorship that made it possible for Alaska Far Away to be seen on public television stations across the country in 2013.

*  Was Alaska Far Away broadcast in your area this year - and you missed it?
*  Did you watch it on your local public television station - but want to see it again?
*  Did you enjoy watching it, and now want to share it with someone else who would enjoy it?

We can help! Just click http://www.alaskafarawaythemovie.com/p/shopping.html for DVDs of our films, for delightful books about the Matanuska Colony (including one for kids!), and for some very sweet holiday deals - including FREE SHIPPING through December 21st! Operators are standing by (well, not exactly operators...it's just us, but we ship out your orders right away!)


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Holiday deals for you

The holiday season is here, and we've just updated our order form for you. It includes:
NEW ITEMS *  We're now offering two books about the Matanuska Colony:
- Heather Lehe's delightful novel, Colony Kids, which tells the story of life in the early days of the colony through the eyes of a 13-year old boy.
- Matanuska Colony 75th Anniversary Scrapbook, a lovingly-compiled treasure-trove of photographs and memories from the early days of the colony, by Lynette Lehn and Lori Kirker of Alaskana Books.

SPECIAL DEALS  *  Not only can you buy both Alaska Far Away and Where the River Matanuska Flows as a gift set for only $35 - a $10 discount over buying them separately - but if you buy a gift set of our films, you can get the Matanuska Colony 75th Anniversary Scrapbook for only $5. Yes, FIVE DOLLARS. Such a deal!

FREE SHIPPING  *  Once again, we are offering free shipping through December 21st.

This is all good news for you. Here's a link to our new order form.

We have also updated our shopping page on this website: check it out! Always feel free to email us at alaskafaraway@aol.com if you have questions or problems placing an order.

Thank you for your support! Wishing you a very happy holiday season.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Today is Thanksgiving. The holiday season is here, and tomorrow we'll start posting information about holiday sales and ways to share our films with your loved ones for the holidays.

But today we just want to take a moment to give thanks. No project of the size and scope of our Alaska Far Away and Where the River Matanuska Flows could come to fruition without the hard work and support of many people. The credits for our films (see our press kit) go on and on, because it took that many people to help us bring these stories to the world.

So today we want to thank everyone who helped make our films, everyone who believed in us enough to support our efforts, everyone who has purchased our films, everyone who has shown up at screenings to enjoy our films with others, everyone who has helped spread the word. We are particularly grateful to all those who trusted us enough to share their stories on camera: it takes courage and faith to entrust strangers with your life stories, and we are forever grateful to them.

We are so grateful that the story of the Matanuska Colony came into our lives 19 years ago. It changed our lives forever.

With many thanks to you all. Happy Thanksgiving!

Joanie Juster and Paul Hill en route to film in Minnesota, 1995

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Alaska State Fair Wrap-Up

There is no better place to show Alaska Far Away and Where the River Matanuka Flows than in the historic Wineck Barn at the Alaska State Fair. For two wonderful weeks we turned the barn into a place where people could learn about Matanuska Colony history. They could watch our films, peruse our historic displays, learn about Matanuska barns from experts Helen Hegener and Arnold Alanen, or simply stop by and visit for awhile. And this year we had a special treat: every morning busloads of third-grade students from local schools came to the Wineck Barn to learn about Colony history.

We have posted many photos on our Facebook page, but here are a few of our favorite memories from the 2013 Alaska State Fair. If you missed us, come visit us in the Barn next year!

The gardeners at the Alaska State Fair do  spectacular job - the flowers are one of the "WOW!" factors at the Fair.

Another "WOW!" factor at the Fair: the giant vegetables! Here we are checking out this year's prize-winning Giant Cabbage, grown by a descendant of Mrs. Frances Dinkel, who is featured in Alaska Far Away.

This year we added a "Colony Kids Corner" in the Wineck Barn. Kids loved to color pictures from the Matanuska Colony.

Above and below: Third grade students visiting the Wineck Barn to learn about the Matanuka Colony.

Above: The historic Wineck Barn, seen through spectacular sweet pea plants that had grown seven feel tall.
Below: Helen Hegener, author of The Matanuska Colony Barns, giving a tour of the Wineck Barn.

Wayne Bouwens, a "colony kid" who is featured in Alaska Far Away, spoke to one of our third grade classes in the Wineck Barn, sharing stories of growing up doing chores in a barn just like this one.

One of our favorite booths at the Alaska State Fair: Salmon Express! These nice folks make terrific salmon quesadillas, salmon chowder, and lots of other great salmon dishes.

Professor Arnold Alanen giving a presentation about Matanuska Colony architecture in the Wineck Barn at the Alaska State Fair.
Professor Alanen was joined by "colony kid" Earl Wineck, whose father built the Wineck Barn in 1936.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

It's Almost Here: The Alaska State Fair!

The New Deal Pioneers of the Matanuska Colony
We're coming back to the Alaska State Fair
with screenings, barn tours, kid stuff and more!

  Wineck Barn_DSC09485_logo_color     
ALASKA FAR AWAY  Returns to the Alaska State Fair

Screenings in the Wineck Barn
Thursday, August 22 through Monday, September 2, 2013

Daily schedule:
12:00 noon 5:00 PM: Screenings of Alaska Far Away
2:30 PM: Screenings of 
Where the River Matanuska Flows

Daily:  Barn talks and tours of the Wineck Barn (see below for times and details)
plus historical exhibits,
Colony Kids Corner,
and other special events

All events in the Wineck Barn FREE with Fair admission

Take history home with you - Shop inside the Wineck Barn 
Buy DVDs of Alaska Far Away and Where the River Matanuska Flows
Helen Hegener's book  The Matanuska Colony Barns
Heather Lehe's young-adult novel Colony Kids
and more!
Cash, check & credit cards welcome.

Thanks to our long-time sponsors at Matanuska Valley Federal Credit Union for making these  Alaska State Fair screenings possible.
MVFCU logo
In addition to our film screenings,
join us in the Wineck Barn during the Fair
for the special events listed below
 Matanuska Colony Barns

Daily barn talks and tour with Helen Hegener, author of The Matanuska Colony Barns
at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM in the Wineck Barn

barnscvr1Have you always wanted to know more about the beautiful barns that are scattered throughout the Matanuska Valley?

Local author and photographer Helen Hegener has written The Matanuska Colony Barns, and she will be sharing the story of the barns and giving tours of the Wineck Barn twice daily at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM (with the exception of August 24 and 25th, when the barn presentations will be given by guest speaker Professor Arnold Alanen; see below for details).

Come hear her presentation, then stick around for our film screenings.

Click here to visit her barn website. Helen's book will be available for purchase in the Wineck Barn throughout the Fair.

 Why Do Those Barns Looks Like That?
The Buildings of the Matanuska Colony

Illustrated presentations and barn tours with special guest Professor Arnold Alanen
Saturday and Sunday, August 24 and 25

2:00 PM, 4:30 PM and 7:00 PM in the Wineck Barn
aa_wsj-photo_crIf you love Matanuska Colony history and architecture, you won't want to miss these special presentations. Professor Alanen has studied and written about the architecture of the Matanuska Colony, and served as a consultant on Alaska Far Away. These illustrated presentations will explore the architecture of the Matanuska Colony with a special emphasis on the barns, and will include a guided tour of the Wineck Barn, which was built by Finnish-American colonists in 1936.

Professor Alanen is an Emeritus Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has written extensively on vernacular architecture, planned communities and landscape architecture, and cultural resource preservation. A third-generation Finnish-American from the same region the Matanuska colonists came from, he is well-known in Finnish-American circles through his numerous popular presentations at FinnFests. He was named Finlandia Foundation's 2009 National Lecturer of the Year.
NOTE: Professor Alanen will also be speaking at the Finlandia Hall in Anchorage on Thursday, August 22 at 6:00 PM on "From Finland to North America: Buildings, Landscapes and Cultural Change."
 Colony Kids Corner

Daily during Fair hours in the Wineck Barn

DSC04307Who says Colony history is just for grown-ups? Most of the original colonists were Colony Kids!

We're devoting a special corner of the Wineck Barn to kids, featuring fun activities with a Colony theme.

So bring the kids to the Wineck Barn - there's something for kids of all ages!

 Cream Puff Pioneers

Thursday, August 29 and Saturday, August 31
at 4:00 PM and 7:00 PM in the Wineck Barn

HAMS 2013_cr

Visitors to the Matanuska Valley back in the 1990s may remember a wonderful musical narrative of the Matanuska Colony. Written by Dan Strouse, with music and lyrics by Ron Strouse, it was performed for years in the RV park right outside of Palmer, in the shadow of Pioneer Peak.

Well, Cream Puff Pioneers has now been revived by HAMS (The Homeless Actors of Mat-Su), and they will be performing the show in the Wineck Barn on Thursday, August 29 and Saturday, August 31 at 4:00 PM and 7:00 PM.

Admission is FREE with Fair admission. Come hear the story of the Colony told in song.
Alaska Far Away:
Documenting an American Adventure Story

Daily during Fair hours in the Wineck Barn

For the past three years, we've made the Wineck Barn a destination at the Alaska State Fair where you can watch our films, learn about Colony history, listen to or share stories, or simply get off your feet for awhile and enjoy the beauty of this historic barn.

Come see our historical exhibit, 
ALASKA FAR AWAY: DOCUMENTING AN AMERICAN ADVENTURE STORYinside the Wineck Barn. This exhibit tells the story of the Matanuska Colony through photos, historical documents, maps and excerpts from interviews filmed during the making of Alaska Far Away.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Something Special Is Happening In Dayton

We don't know why, or how, but something special is happening in Dayton, Ohio.

Each week we check the reports from American Public Television to see where Alaska Far Away will be turning up on the airwaves, so we can promote it to our followers and let them know when they can watch it on their local station. Most stations show a film once during prime time, with a repeat showing in the wee small hours for the insomniacs and folks with nocturnal schedules.

So imagine our surprise when we saw that ThinkTV - the station based in Dayton, Ohio - is showing our film FOURTEEN TIMES in a two-week period.

Yes, FOURTEEN TIMES. Prime time. Day time. Early evening. Late night. A time for folks with every type of schedule.

So if you live in the greater Dayton area, there's simply no excuse for missing Alaska Far Away over the next couple of weeks. And we're sending a big thank you to ThinkTV for believing in our film enough to give it this kind of exposure.

UPDATE 8/12/2013: And the screenings keep coming on ThinkTV, in both the Dayton and Cincinnati areas. Check our latest email for this week's screenings, and stay tuned - more are coming up in September. Thank you, ThinkTV!    http://p0.vresp.com/whWL3S

Monday, July 15, 2013

Midsummer Sale: Save on DVDs Through July 31

It has come to our attention that this week will mark the 100th broadcast of Alaska Far Away on public television stations since this season's broadcasts began in May. We're pretty excited about that, so we're celebrating with a sale!

Buy Alaska Far Away, Where the River Matanuska Flows, or BOTH films, for $5 less than our usual prices. These prices are only available through our own web site, through July 31st, so stock up now. 

What, you already have a copy of Alaska Far Away? Consider buying a copy to share with others who might enjoy it: your local school, library, retirement home, community center, or hospital. 

(By the way, changing our PayPal order forms for this sale just got too confusing, so go ahead and pay as usual, and we'll rebate the $5 to you when we process your order.)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

More Broadcasts, and Midsummer Savings

Happy Fourth of July! 

Independence Day in the Matanuska Colony
If you've seen Alaska Far Away, you may remember a happy scene where the colonists are celebrating their first Independence Day in their new home of Alaska. Marvelous archival footage shows the colonists playing baseball, and enjoying a traditional all-American picnic complete with music and speeches. But the most memorable scene shows a long line of colonists shooting off rockets into the not-quite-dark midsummer Alaska sky.

Midsummer Savings
We are celebrating midsummer by offering a special deal on all orders placed on this web site through July 18: Order a DVD and you'll get a $5 rebate. Click here to take advantage of these savings.

July Broadcasts
Meanwhile, Alaska Far Away continues its tour of public television stations around the country. Broadcasts for July include:

WVPT - Harrisonburg, Virginia
Sunday, July 7 at 4:30 p.m.

KEET - Eureka, California
Sunday, July 7 at 11:30 a.m.

WNMU - Marquette, Michigan
Monday, July 8 at 10:00 p.m.
Tuesday, July 9 at 2:00 p.m.

KUAC - Fairbanks, Alaska
Tuesday, July 16 at 4:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 17 at 5:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer in Alaska, and more debuts across the country

It is now officially summer in Alaska, that magical time when the flowers shoot up so fast you can practically hear them grow, the fish are jumping, the tourists are arriving, and you never want to go to bed because the sun is shining all day and night. If summer also includes a few pesky mosquitoes and the
occasional 90-degree day, so be it. If you've never been to Alaska in the summer, GO! And if you have, GO AGAIN! And if you're going, don't miss the beautiful Matanuska Valley. Every time we return, it takes our breath away. Majestic mountains, glaciers, rivers, rolling farmland, friendly people, intriguing history, and the most delicious produce you're ever going to taste make it a wonderful place to visit. We can hardly wait to return again in August to show our films in the Wineck Barn at the Alaska State Fair. We'll be writing more about our Fair plans soon, but we'll just say that we hope you join us, because there will be plenty going on in the Wineck Barn to bring you back again and again.

In the meantime, Alaska Far Away continues its tour of public television stations across the country. Here's a list of the broadcasts through the end of June. Not in your broadcast area? Please share this link -http://p0.vresp.com/c2tlo3 - with friends and family in the areas where it is being shown. Thank you!

East Tennessee Public Television - Knoxville, Tennessee
Thursday, June 20 at 10:00 p.m.

WUSF-TV - Tampa, Florida
Saturday, June 22 at 4:30 a.m.

WBCC-TV - Orlando, Florida
Saturday, June 22 at 9:00 p.m.
Sunday, June 23 at 3:00 a.m.

WGVU - Grand Rapids, Michigan
Sunday, June 23 at 4:30 p.m.

Idaho Public Television -
Idaho PTV operates stations that reach 97% of Idaho's population, as well as reach 6 surrounding states and Canada. Some of their stations broadcast in Mountain Time, others in Pacific Time. Their broadcasts of Alaska Far Away are as follows:
KAID, KIPT, KISU - Boise, Idaho
Sunday, June 23 at 7:00 p.m. MT
Monday, June 24 at 12:00 a.m. MT

KCDT & KUID - Northern Idaho and Spokane, WA
Sunday, June 23 at 6:00 p.m. & 11:00 p.m.PDT

KNCT - Killeen, Texas
Thursday, June 27 at 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

In a Colony State of Mind

So much Matanuska Colony-related news this weekend - where to start?

Palmer, Alaska is enjoying Colony Days this weekend - the annual celebration of Palmer's Matanuska Colony roots, and  the arrival of summer in Alaska - round-the-clock sunshine, plants growing a foot every day, and being outdoors as much as possible.

This public celebration comes one week after the colony families gathered for their annual reunion dinner. "Colony kids" who grew up in the Matanuska Colony, along with colony grandkids, great-grandkids, etc., gathered for an afternoon of nostalgia and catching up.

And speaking of nostalgia: the opening scenes of Alaska Far Away were filmed during the Colony Days Parade in 1995. Look familiar? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IX12QFQ0Lvk

We're honoring Colony Days by taking part in the I Love Palmer/Colony Days Giveaway. Created by Palmerite Laura Sampson, author of the blog, Hey What's For Dinner Mom?, the giveaway includes ALL of the following Matanuska Colony-themed prizes:
*  A set of BOTH of our films on DVD: Alaska Far Away and its companion film, Where the River Matanuska Flows
* Helen Hegener's new book, The Matanuska Colony Barns - a must-have for anyone who interested in
the Matanuska Colony, Palmer, Alaska, farming, barns, history, or great books. (That pretty much covers everyone, doesn't it?)
* Heather Lehe's book, Colony Kids - a charming novel about the early days of the colony written from the perspective of the kids themselves, and based on stories from actual colony kids (including some stories featured in our films).

So enter the giveaway now! The drawing ends in three days, and your odds of winning are great.

Our interview on Aspen Public Radio can be heard here. And we were jazzed to wake up to see a glowing article about Alaska Far Away posted on Alaska Dispatch.

Meanwhile, Alaska Far Away is showing on public television stations in three different states over the next three days. Here are all the details. Please spread the word to friends and family in these broadcast areas.

Colorado Public Television
Saturday, June 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 9 at 3:00 a.m.

Tune in to Aspen Public Radio this week, as we talk with filmmaker and NPR reporter Rob St. Mary about Alaska Far Away. Check our Facebook page for time and date.

WPBS-TV - Watertown, New York*
Sunday, June 9 at 12:00 noon
* WPBS-TV also reaches eastern Ontario, making this the first international broadcast for Alaska Far Away

Wyoming PBS

Monday, June 10 at 8:00 p.m.
Tuesday, June 11 at 2:00 a.m.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Week of Debuts: Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, New York State, Wyoming, Michigan


While Alaska Far Away continues showing on KAKM and KTOO in Alaska this week (final broadcast Wednesday June 5 at 8:30 p.m.), we're also excited to make our debuts in six more states in the coming two weeks. For our new viewers - welcome! If you enjoy this saga of the New Deal pioneers, we hope you will help us spread the word as Alaska Far Away makes its way to public television stations around the country. If you want to stay up-to-date on our broadcast schedule (not to mention live screenings), please "like" our Facebook page. We also send emails to folks on our mailing list with each week's broadcast schedule. If you'd like to receive these updates, just email us at alaskafaraway@aol.com.

If Alaska Far Away inspired you to take a trip to Alaska, be sure to visit Palmer and the beautiful Matanuska Valley. Click on the tab above labeled "More Information" for links that will provide information on travel, history, and places to visit.

Here's this week's broadcast line-up.

KLRU-Q - Austin, Texas
Sunday, June 2 at 8:00 p.m.
Monday, June 3 at 1:00 a.m

KENW-TV - Portales, New Mexico
Tuesday, June 4 at 11:00 p.m.
Wednesday, June 5 at 3:00 a.m.
Wednesday, June 5 at 7:00 a.m.

Wednesday, June 5 at 1:30 p.m.

Colorado Public Television
Saturday, June 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 9 at 3:00 a.m.

Tune in to Aspen Public Radio this week, as we talk with filmmaker and NPR reporter Rob St. Mary about Alaska Far Away. Check our Facebook page for time and date.
WPBS-TV - Watertown, New York*
Sunday, June 9 at 12:00 noon
* WPBS-TV also reaches eastern Ontario, making this the first international broadcast for Alaska Far Away

Wyoming PBS

Monday, June 10 at 8:00 p.m.
Tuesday, June 11 at 2:00 a.m.

Q-TV (WDCQ) - Flint, Michigan
Thursday, June 13 at 4:00 a.m.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

This Week: ALASKA FAR AWAY Returns to - Alaska!

In May, Alaska Far Away began playing on public broadcasting stations around the country. So far it has been seen by audiences in Oregon, Miami, Nashville, West Palm Beach, Vermont, the Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa, Minnesota, and West Virginia, with another 65+ stations to come, coast-to-coast.

But this week, our film comes home to its roots: Alaska. Our presenting station, KAKM in Anchorage, is showing three prime-time broadcasts of Alaska Far Away this week:
Friday, May 31 at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 1 at 8:00 p.m.
Wednesday, June 5 at 8:30 p.m.

All shows will be broadcast simultaneously on KTOO-TV in Juneau.
(Click here for the full roster of broadcasts these next two weeks, which includes stations in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, New York, and Wyoming.)

Coming home to the Alaska airwaves is particularly meaningful for us. Back in 1994, when all we had was a rough draft of a proposal for this film, the long-time manager of KAKM, Dick Enders, was kind enough to sit down and listen to our ideas, and give enthusiastic feedback. He also gave us a very valuable piece of advice: put "Alaska" in the title, right up front. He sent us on our way with his blessing and a letter of recommendation, and told us to come back when the film was finished.

Well, by the time we came back, 14 years later, Dick had retired. But KAKM did fulfill his promise: our first broadcast was in September 2010, breaking fundraising records during the station's fall pledge drive, with additional airings in December 2010 and 2011. We are happy and grateful to be invited back.

But KAKM did even more to help this year. In order for American Public Television to offer our film to their member stations, we had to have a "presenting station" step forward on our behalf. KAKM took that step, and we are deeply grateful to them for making it possible for us to share our film with millions of viewers across the country.

While many Alaskans have seen Alaska Far Away several times, there are always new audiences who haven't seen it yet, and for whom the story of the Matanuska Colony is new. So for our viewers old and new, we are happy to share Alaska Far Away with you. And don't forget: Colony Days celebrations are right around the corner in Palmer - may our film inspire you to join the festivities!

Top photo: Volunteers answering pledge phones at KAKM in September 2010. From KAKM web site
Bottom photo: Colonists Tony and Alys Vickaryous of Minnesota with their daughters Gerry and Tiny. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tonight in West Virginia: Alaska Far Away debuts in a state with rich New Deal history of its own

One of the points that people take away from watching Alaska Far Away is that the Matanuska Colony was just one of over 100 resettlement communities created around the country by Roosevelt's New Deal. Over and over we hear, "This is amazing! Why weren't we taught about this in school?"

Good question. If the New Deal is taught in schools at all, you may learn about the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Works Progress Administration, the Tennessee Valley Authority, Social Security, and maybe the Federal Theatre Project. But the New Deal created many other programs, large and small, to help people whose livelihoods had been destroyed by the Great Depression. For the most part, they were designed to be temporary programs, emergency measures designed to give people a boost so they could succeed on their own. Harry L. Hopkins, head of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration that created and administered many of these programs, was once taunted by his critics, who said these programs wouldn't work in the long run. But Harry - who had been a social worker and relief manager in New York, and knew first-hand the devastating effects of poverty - answered his critics by saying, "People don't eat in the long run. They eat every day."

Tonight (5/28) Alaska Far Away will make its debut in West Virginia (8:00 p.m.). West Virginia is home to another famous New Deal community, Arthurdale. Created in 1933 (pre-Matanuska) within a day's drive of Washington, D.C., and under the watchful eye of Eleanor Roosevelt herself, Arthurdale was the country's first New Deal Homestead Community. Arthurdale is now a National Historic District featuring 160 of the 165 original homesteads, and a center where visitors can learn about and celebrate the New Deal communities. If you're interested in New Deal history, be sure to visit during their annual New Deal Festival, which will be held this year on July 13.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Alaska Far Away returns to Minnesota

Alaska Far Away returns to Twin Cities Public Television tonight (Monday, May 27) at 9:00 p.m. CDT. 

On May 10, 1935, 67 families from Minnesota arrived in the Matanuska Valley of Alaska as part of a bold New Deal project. We have been privileged to meet and interview many of those original colonists during the course of making Alaska Far Away. In 1996, with support from the Minnesota Humanities Commission, we drove through Minnesota conducting research, and filming interviews. In Pine City we filmed Dorothy Bell and her daughter, Wanda Bell Showalter. Dorothy had brought her piano to Alaska; her husband brought his bee hives. In Cambridge, we talked to Donald Sundberg, who, at the tender age of 19, had been a social worker tasked with selecting families for the project. In Mora, we interviewed a "colony kid" who told us that money during the Depression was so tight that the kids weren't allowed to wear shoes during the summer; they had to save them for the winter. And in Duluth we interviewed a marvelous historian, Matti Kaups, who provided insights into the history and politics of the Cutover region that greatly enriched our film.

Since the release of Alaska Far Away in 2008, we have had the privilege of showing our film in Minnesota many times. We have criss-crossed the state, with live screenings in St. Paul, Winona, Cloquet, Duluth, International Falls, Wrenshall, Denmark Township, Ely, Fosston, Moose Lake and (right across the border from Minnesota), in Fargo. The broadcasts have taken place at film festivals, and in public libraries, historical societies large and small, a church, a converted funeral parlor, a 100-year old barn, and even a movie theatre! And at every screening, folks in the audience would come forward to let us know that members of their family were part of the Matanuska Colony in 1935.

Alaska Far Away has reached an even wider audience through public television, with broadcasts in 2011 on Twin Cities Public Television, Lakeland Public Television, and WDSE in Duluth. We are honored that all of these stations will be showing our film again this summer, with another Minnesota station joining the group:  Pioneer Public Television in Appleton. Stay tuned: we'll keep you posted when the other screenings are scheduled.

In the meantime, do we wish we could be in Minnesota with you tonight, watching on TPT? You bet.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Coming up next: Broadcasts in Georgia, Minnesota, West Virginia and....Alaska!

Here's the line-up of broadcasts for this week, and a link to today's email alert that you can share with your friends and family:

Thursday, May 23 at 1:00 a.m. EDT

Monday, May 27 at 9:00 p.m. CDT
Tuesday, May 28 at 3:00 a.m. CDT

Tuesday, May 28 at 8:00 p.m. EDT

Friday, May 31 at 8:00 p.m. AT
Saturday, June 1 at 8:00 p.m. AT
Wednesday, June 5 at 8:30 p.m. AT

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Where to Watch ALASKA FAR AWAY May 14-28

Here's the line-up of broadcasts for this week, and a link to today's email alert that you can share with your friends and family:

Tuesday, May 14 at 9:00 p.m. EDT 
(Repeated Wednesday May 15 at 3:00 a.m. EDT)
Miami - WLRN

Friday, May 17 at 9:00 p.m. CDT
Nashville - WNPT

Saturday, May 18 at 9:30 p.m. EDT
West Palm Beach - WXEL

Sunday, May 19 at 3:00 p.m., EDT
Vermont Public Television

Sunday, May 19 at 8:00 p.m. CDT
Quad Cities Public Television

Wednesday, May 22 at 1:00 a.m. EDT
Georgia Public Broadcasting

Monday, May 27 at 9:00 p.m. CDT
(Repeated Tuesday, May 28 at 3:00 a.m. CDT)
Twin Cities Public Television

 Tuesday, May 28 at 8:00 p.m. EDT
West Virginia Public Broadcasting