University News

Former Macomb Video Producer At Screening of "Zielinski" Documentary April 11

April 6, 2012


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MACOMB, IL – The documentary film, "Zielinski," about John Zielinski, who is known as the most blacklisted author in the history of Iowa, will be screened at Western Illinois University at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 11 in the Union Sandburg Theatre.

Independent videographer and producer Ryan Walker, formerly from Macomb, will be at the screening and will answer questions from the audience. Walker collaborated with Chase Thompson, a film instructor at Stephens College (Columbia, MO), to make the film, which begins with the statement: "This is a bigger cover-up than the Kennedy assassination."

Zielinski was a well-known author and photographer in the early 1980, with his work appearing in major publications, including Life Magazine, the Chicago Tribune and The New York Times. However, in 1984, he lost a court battle over a publishing contract, which cost him $50,000 and his credibility. For nearly 30 years, Zielinski has investigated human traffickers, pedophiles, drug dealers and Satanists; and he is often dismissed as a controversial conspiracy theorist because of linking these crimes to agencies of the U.S. government.

"Zielinski," (run time: 65 min.) which has no voiceovers and uses 47 years worth of source material, news interviews and music by Mark Speckman, has been screened at several film festivals, including Slamdance, True/False and Radar Hamburg. The film was named Best Political Documentary at the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival and earned a Golden Reel award at the Nevada Film Festival.

The film evolved after Zielinski walked into Columbia Access Television (Columbia, MO) with a messy VHS camera and said to Thompson and then-employee Walker: "There's a tape stuck in here that will bring down the U.S. government. Can you help me?"

Walker has received three Hometown Video Awards from the Alliance for Community Media. He is currently working on a new documentary about Henry "Kelly" Wagle, the notorious bootlegger of western Illinois, who is the basis of the book, "The Bootlegger: A Story of Small-Town America," by John E. Hallwas, WIU English professor emeritus and regional historian.

He is the son of Ron Walker, who is the former chair of Western's Department of English and Journalism and an emeritus professor of English, and Leslie Walker, of Macomb.

The screening, which is sponsored by the WIU Film Studies Club, is open free to the public. Co-sponsors include the Visiting Lectures Committee, the Council on Student Activity Funds and the Department of English and Journalism.

For more information contact Associate Professor of English Roberta Di Carmine, phone (309) 298-2192.

Posted By: University Communications (U-Communications@wiu.edu)
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