An event expected to draw people from across the country and possibly even overseas will happen this November at the Orpheum Theater in Marshalltown.
The Jean Seberg International Film Festival is coming to the Orpheum Nov. 10 through 13. This unique festival is designed as a tribute to the woman who was born and raised in Marshalltown and went on to become an international film star.
"Clearly, the legacy of Jean Seberg as a film and stage icon needs to be celebrated and needs to be embraced by Marshalltown," said Orpheum Director Pip Gordon.
T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW POTTER
Kurt Seberg, right, looks over a display case featuring his sister Jean Seberg during a visit to the Orpheum Theater Saturday. Seberg presented Orpheum Director Pip Gordon, left, a check for $5,000 from his employer Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Iowa to go toward funding the Jean Seberg International Film Festival, which will be held Nov. 10 through 13 at the Orpheum.
Gordon said it is not far-fetched to expect to draw international visitors for this event.
"There's a tremendous Jean Seberg following in Paris and London and New York," she said. "Once we get the (public relations) out there, I'm sure that they will come."
The official festival schedule is still being worked out, but it is expected to include screenings of several of Seberg's films, a red carpet event and symposiums from authors and scholars who are experts on Seberg. The last day, Nov. 13, is also special as that would have been Jean's 73rd birthday.
"Her work in general is outstanding given the groundbreaking kind of films she was doing in her time," Gordon said.
Jean Seberg's brother, Kurt Seberg of Des Moines, visited the Orpheum Saturday with a $5,000 check donated from his employer, Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Iowa, to go toward the cost of the festival. It is expected to be the first of several grants to help fund the film festival.
"It's pretty exciting," Kurt Seberg said of the upcoming festival. "With Pip's drive and vision I think this is a good thing."
Kurt Seberg has donated more rare memorabilia and photos of his sister to add to the unique display already in the exhibit hall of the theater.
"We have now one whole display case on Jean," Gordon said. "There's more items coming in all the time."
Garry McGee, from the northeast Iowa town of Elma, is the author of a book on Jean Seberg's life titled "Breathless," and has been working on a documentary film about her life expected out next year. McGee is one of the leading experts on Seberg and has been wondering for years why Marshalltown doesn't embrace her legacy more.
"I'm pleased to hear that (the festival) is happening," McGee said. "I'm really excited and grateful that the community is doing this. It's a huge step forward to recognize her as an actress."
Gordon expects the Orpheum to sell festival passes good for all four days and individual program and movie tickets, though prices have not yet been set.