Metrograph Pictures

Prairie Trilogy
Prairie Trilogy
Director: John Hanson & Rob Nilsson
1978-1980 / 120 mins / DCP

John Hanson and Rob Nilsson, co-directors of Cannes Camera d’Or winner Northern Lights and fellow members of San Francisco’s Cine Manifest film collective, collaborated on this remarkable series of documentaries underwritten by the North Dakota Humanities Council and the North Dakota AFL-CIO. In Prairie Fire, 97-year-old ex-organizer and poet Henry Martinson recounts the 1916 birth of the Socialist Nonpartisan League—also the subject of Northern Lights—his narrative accompanied by images shot by Nilsson’s own grandfather, Frithjof Holmboe. Rebel Earth finds Martinson, accompanied by a younger farmer, revisiting the scenes of his life, seeking out the spot of his Divide County homestead. Survivor, finished the year before Martinson’s death, focuses on the biography of its subject, found in a funny and expansive mood. A gorgeously-shot work of documentary-as-historical corrective, which finds hope for the future through excavating a radical past.

Previous Bookings
Metrograph, New York, NY
Syracuse International Film Festival, Syracuse, NY
Downtown Independent, Los Angeles, CA
The Roxie, San Francisco, CA
Smith Rafael Film Center, San Rafael, CA
Big Water Film Festival, Ashland, WI
Austin Film Society, Austin, TX
International House, Philadelphia, PA
Occidental Center for the Arts, Occidental, CA
Northwest Film Center, Portland, OR
Northwest Film Forum, Seattle, WA
Chicago Film Society, Chicago, IL
Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA