University News

"Plain Folk" Documentary Screening 11/18

November 17, 2010

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MACOMB, IL -- The documentary film, "Plain Folk," by Mark Dial, filmmaker and associate director of Western Illinois University's University Television will be shown at a free public screening at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18 in the University Union Sandburg Lounge.

According to Dial, "Plain Folk" showcases the lives and rituals of three octogenerian farm couples in the Midwest. The screening will be followed by a roundtable discussion with Dial; Chris Merrett, director of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA) at WIU; Roberta Di Carmine, associate professor of English and journalism at Western; and Karen Kehoe, president of the Student Film Club.

"With an interest in stories, ethnography, everyday ritual, the mundane and time passing, I cultivated relationships with these couples to tell their stories about farm life in the Midwest during times of economic crisis," Dial said. "This crisis is further enhanced by the increasing corporatization of agriculture facing elderly farm couples and many other U.S. citizens. With the economic instability and the corporatization, coupled with the fact that their children are less likely to continue in agriculture, they find themselves alone together."

Dial received his bachelor's degree from Western and his Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts from the Vermont College of Fine Art. He has worked at University Television since 2001. Prior to joining the UTV staff, Dial was an independent film director and producer in Chicago and Charleston, SC.

"Plain Folk" is sponsored by the department of English and journalism and the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs. For more information, contact Dial at (309) 298-1880 or

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