Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Iowa Film On Immigration To Premiere On Documentary Channel

While immigration is a hot topic in Arizona and other states, a film by an Iowa producer/director and Drake University professor premiering this month on the Documentary Channel focuses on the impact of immigration in one Iowa community.

'"A Little Salsa on the Prairie: The Changing Character of Perry, Iowa,' looks at immigration-related issues that have gained much attention in the national media," said Drake English professor Jody Swilky, who wrote and co-produced the documentary.

"Our documentary examines immigration and culture change over time in a rural Midwestern community, including a bilingual community dialog process on immigration and the future of the community” added producer/director Kent Newman, head of Full Spectrum Productions who also serves as President of the Iowa Motion Picture Association.

The film has had more than 30 screenings in Iowa, California and New York. It has also been shown on Iowa Public Television and will premiere this month on the Documentary Channel, which airs documentaries from around the world, including never-before-seen and independent films. Read more online at The film will air on the Documentary Channel on:
.            Friday, Aug. 6, 10 a.m.
.            Tuesday, Aug. 24, 1 p.m.
.            Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2 a.m.
.            Monday, Sept. 13, 11:30 a.m.

The film will continue to be broadcast in rotation on the DOC Channel over the next two years. In addition, the film will be featured for sale by the Documentary Channel's DOC Store, which offers a large selection of quality films available for purchase. Access the DOC Store online at

"A Little Salsa on the Prairie" features local Perry residents who emigrated to the rural community from Mexico, as well as Central America and the U.S. It focuses on changes in Perry that began in the 1990s when the largely white community experienced an influx of Latino workers and their families.

Many of the workers traveled to Perry from Texas, California, Mexico and Central America to work in the local meat packing plant. In 10 years, Perry's Latino population increased from 47 to 1,873, with Latinos accounting for 24.5 percent of the population by 2000.

“A Little Salsa on the Prairie” present a historical look at Perry with a focus on immigration, ethnicity and industry, specifically the presence of the meat packing plant as the major employer during the 1960s and the rise and fall of the railroad.  The film also addresses the impact of Latino immigration on the economy, society and physical environment in Perry.

The Documentary Channel, which launched in 2006 and is available on Dish, Direct TV and many cable networks, is independently owned and operated. Recently, it featured its first original series, DocTalk@USC, a half hour interview program with filmmakers conducted by Mark Harris of the University of Southern California's School of Cinema-Television. The series, taped at USC with a live audience, will start playing in the fall.

The channel was founded by Oscar nominated and Emmy winning documentarian Tom Neff and is run by President and CEO James Ackerman. It also won its first Emmy Award, for Outstanding Documentary, in September 2007, for "Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire."

For more information or to arrange a special screening of the documentary, contact Newman at or Swilky at


  1. I remember seeing this one. It was certainly a well made documentary that takes a good look at a seriously explosive topic. I have to admit I’ve only recently started watching documentaries, I don’t know why I haven’t been watching them for years. They (for the most part) are more entertaining than a lot of the other programming on these days and their educational too. I also realized how great the Logitech Revue works for this type of content. I can pause my DVR in the middle of a documentary and look the subject matter up on the internet, right there on my big screen. As a DISH Network subscriber/employee I was excited when I first heard that Logitech, Google and DISH were working together to provide enhanced DVR functionality and they did a great job at providing a seamless experience. I definitely recommend documentary fans check it out; it can take the experience to the next level. DISH is also offering the Revue to their customers at a discounted price of only $179 with a $4/month DVR integration fee, which is a great deal for everything you can get out of it.