Frederick Wiseman’s documentary Monrovia, Indiana which is set to world premiere at the 2018 Venice Film Festival, will be released in theaters on October 26 at New York’s Film Forum as it begins a national theatrical rollout via Zipporah Films. Los Angeles will open November 2 with additional top markets to follow in November and December. Following Venice, the film will also play at the Toronto International Film Festival and the New York Film Festival.
Located in mid-America, Monrovia, IN (population 1,063), founded in 1834, is primarily a farming community. The film is about the day-to-day experiences living and working in Monrovia, with emphasis on community organizations and institutions, religion and daily life in this farming community.
Forty-six million Americans live in rural, small town America. These towns were once the backbone of American life. While their number and populations have shrunk, the importance of rural America as a formative center of American politics and values was demonstrated in the 2016 presidential election. To understand more about American life, it is important acknowledge the unique and important contributions small towns make to American character and culture, in addition to providing most of our food, raw materials and drinking water.
The film explores the conflicting stereotypes and illustrates how values like community service, duty, spiritual life, generosity and authenticity are formed, experienced and lived. The film gives a complex and nuanced view of daily life in Monrovia and provides some understanding of a rural, mid-American way of life that has always been important in America but whose influence and force have not always been recognized or understood in the big cities on the east and west coasts of America and in other countries.
On his inspiration for the film Wiseman stated:“I thought a film about a small farming community in the Midwest would be a good addition to the series I have been doing on contemporary American life. Life in big American cities,on the east and west coasts,is regularly reported on and I was interested in learning more about life in small town America and sharing my view.”
Since 1967, Frederick Wiseman has directed 42 documentaries—dramatic, narrative films that seek to portray ordinary human experience in a wide variety of contemporary social institutions. His films include TITICUT FOLLIES, HIGH SCHOOL, WELFARE, JUVENILE COURT, BOXING GYM, LA DANSE, BALLET, CENTRAL PARK, BALLET, LA COMEDIE FRANCAISE, CRAZY HORSE, AT BERKELEY, NATIONAL GALLERY, IN JACKSON HEIGHTS, and EX LIBRIS – THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY. He has directed one fiction film, THE LAST LETTER (2002). His films are exhibited in theatres and broadcast on television in many countries.