Dennis Thompson
Dennis Thompson
Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Iowans recognize the scenes straight away. Neighbors meeting during summer lawn-mowing. A grandmother, dressed in an apron, giving 1950s advice to her hipster granddaughter.

That familiar feel emerged on the screen in “Peace Patch,” a 2009 movie filmed in Boone and featured Tuesday afternoon in the Des Moines Area Community College Carroll campus film festival, “America at the Movies.”

DMACC English instructor Dennis Thompson wanted to show students and other audience members the reach of independent and community films, like “Peace Patch,” which centered on a swath of un-mowed grass between two homes with magical powers to promote harmony, end the neighborhood and family squabbling.

“It’s a reflection of our Midwest culture,” Thompson said.

One of the actors in the movie, Wes Worthing of Boone, spoke at the festival following a showing.

“It’s not even a true independent,” Worthing said. “It’s a community film. We were not expecting Warner Brothers to put in a bid for it.”

Movies like “Peace Patch” allow voices to reach audiences that major studios often ignore. Worthing said.

“Hollywood doesn’t like to take risks,” Worthing said. “If it’s already got a fan base, they’ll do it.”

The inaugural DMACC film festival also included a presentation of Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator” at the Carroll Recreation Center and short movies on the women’s and labor movements at DMACC during the day.

Thompson spoke with instructors and dovetailed themes of the movies with course work in other DMACC classes.

He hopes to build on the success of this year’s festival and expand the film festival in the future.

“I want to try to bring film more alive for the students,” Thompson said. “We don’t have any sports teams. We don’t have that many activities.”

Thompson, an Alleman native who earned a master’s degree in English at Iowa State University, moved to Carroll in August 2010.