Moline Documentary Filmmakers Form New Nonprofit Organization on True Stories
Kelly Rundle of Moline has long been a director of documentary films. Now he and his wife Tammy – partners in Fourth Wall Films – are co-executive directors of the Quad-Cities’ newest non-profit — Truth First Film Alliance, Inc. (TFFA).
The organization will focus on bringing films and filmmakers to local screens in special free programs that feature curated documentary films and narrative films based on true stories. Screenings will be followed by a moderated Q&A with directors, producers, and writers with an emphasis on the craft of filmmaking. The formation of the new non-profit was funded in part by a grant from The Moline Foundation.
“We are very excited to introduce friends and neighbors in the Quad-Cities to important films and filmmakers,” Kelly Rundle said recently. “And we look forward to introducing the Quad-Cities to visiting filmmakers. This is a great place to live, work, and make films.”
TFFA’s mission is to promote, support, and encourage the production and exhibition of documentary films, and narrative films based on true stories, through public presentations and educational programs in the Q-C region. Future programs and plans may include classroom visits to discuss films and filmmaking, an annual grant to regional filmmakers, an annual scholarship for a media studies student in the region, and
a one-time or annual film festival with a focus on films that tell true stories.
“The board is passionate about reaching out to young people to nurture their interest in filmmaking. The classroom visits and potential scholarship and grants are ways of encouraging the telling of true film stories,” Kelly said, noting he and Tammy lived and worked in Los Angeles from 1989 to 2007.
“As soon as we left our home in Los Angeles, we started missing the weekly access we had to watching films followed by discussions with filmmakers,” he said Wednesday. “Because our own screening events have been well-attended, we know there is an audience for high-quality in-person film showings and Q & A events here in the Quad-Cities.”
The Rundles have been producing, writing, directing and editing historical documentaries, a docudrama, museum films and other media projects for over 25 years. Their films – including the Hero Street series, Ioway series, and “Sons and Daughters of Thunder” — are the recipients of eight Mid-America Emmy nominations, and more than two dozen film festival awards.
Truth First Film Alliance’s board members include president Lora Adams, an award-winning documentary filmmaker at WQPT-Quad Cities PBS and co-founder of the Black Box Theatre in Moline; vice president Bruce Walters, an acclaimed artist and professor emeritus at Western Illinois University; treasurer Travis Shepherd, a high school American history and social studies teacher, and film and historic site aficionado; and secretary Dianne Prichard, pastor of Hope Lutheran Church in Dixon, Iowa, and former manager of the DeWitt Operahouse Theatre.
TFFA is partnering with the Figge Art Museum in Davenport to present its first free public program in the John Deere Auditorium on the evening of Nov. 11, 2021. The film and visiting filmmakers will be announced at a later date.
“It’s just since we are talking about bringing in people, we want to make a good impression,” Kelly said. “I think a lot of people don’t know
about the Quad-Cities area. If we bring somebody in from Philadelphia, it’s awesome that we have a wonderful event, we make a great impression on them.”
TFFA will not only focus on documentaries, but train its lens on narrative films (like “Sons and Daughters of Thunder” or any number of Hollywood biopics, like the new “Respect,” about Aretha Franklin), he said.
“As filmmakers, we’ve focused on that kind of filmmaking, what we wanted,” Kelly said. “Hollywood every year presents fictional versions of true stories. A true story has additional weight and meaning because it is true, in a way that a completely fictional story does not. We all think something special about those stories that are true.”
TFFA events will NOT feature movies from Fourth Wall Films. The group focus will be on bringing outside filmmakers into the Q-C area.
The November screening will feature a historical documentary, and is over two months out because the group is concerned about Covid at this point, he said. “The great thing about working with the Figge is, they have experience doing hybrid events. We have a small in-person crowd, and may do it online simultaneously. We are all just eager to get going. There’s going to be a little bit of a learning curve.”
“Having attended so many things like this as filmmakers, we know what we like and what we didn’t,” Kelly said. “We want to make it a good experience from the audience point of view.”
Truth First Film Alliance, Inc. has non-profit status in the State of Illinois and 501(c)(3) status with the IRS. For more information, visit TruthFirstFilmAlliance.org.