Categories: General
      Date: Jun 14, 2012
     Title: IOWA PREMIERE
Camera turned on local legend

After seven decades as his subject, Coe College is hosting the Iowa debut of a documentary about the life and work of notable Cedar Rapids photographer and distinguished Coe alumnus George Henry.



After seven decades as his subject, Coe College is hosting the Iowa debut of a documentary about the life and work of notable Cedar Rapids photographer and distinguished Coe alumnus George Henry.

The 1949 Coe graduate and lifelong Cedar Rapidian is the subject of “80 Years Through the Lens – the Life and Work of George T. Henry.” The Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival event is scheduled for June 28 in Kesler Lecture Hall of Hickok Hall on the Coe campus. Screenings are scheduled for 4:30 and 7 p.m. with a question-and-answer session with Henry and Santa Fe, N.M, filmmaker Kevin Kelly following each session.

The George T. Henry Archives in Coe’s Stewart Memorial Library will be open from 3-4:15 p.m. prior to the film’s Iowa premiere. DVDs will be available for purchase in Hickok Hall before and after the movie is shown and on June 29 in the Coe College Bookstore. DVDs are also available at www.georgehenrymovie.com.

Over a year in the making by Kelly, a 1967 Coe graduate, the 30-minute documentary proceeds chronologically from Henry's early life and family growing up in Cedar Rapids, his World War II years as a B-24 "Liberator" bomber pilot, his 68 years as Coe's official photographer, his 45 years as a white-water boatman, his "mingling" with the bears in northern Minnesota, and his reflections on life at 89 years of age.

The film is Henry's story in his own words, illustrated by his photos of the last 80 years and videos of his wilderness adventures. Included are recollections about his trips with Bobby and Ethel Kennedy, Art Buchwald, Andy Williams, John Glenn and other interesting people, including Kelly himself. Anyone who is interested in Coe College, photography, life on the river and in the wild, and tall tales as only George can tell them will love this film. Henry’s story smashes stereotypes about aging and challenges us to live our later years in a more exuberant fashion.

For Kelly, making films of a biographical nature has been a natural outgrowth of his 35 years as a clinical psychologist. "Now instead of focusing on problems to solve I can enjoy learning about the special stories people have to tell about their lives," he said. "It was very gratifying to have so many people at Coe step up to help us accomplish this important mission."

Coe Musical Technical Director Robert Benson, a 2006 graduate of the college, composed and performed much of the movie’s soundtrack. Substantial funding for the project was provided by Coe alumni and friends and residents of Cedar Rapids.

The film premiered at Reel New Mexico in Santa Fe on June 14.