The Program in Ethical Reflection (PERC) at Carleton College will present a screening of a new documentary film titled “Wellstone!” at 8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 25 in Olin Hall, Room 149. There will be a discussion following the screening with one of the film’s producers, Lu Lippold, a member of the Carleton class of 1976. The event is free and open to the public.
The documentary chronicles the lives of the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, a former political science professor at Carleton, and his wife Sheila, from the time they met in high school to their deaths on Oct. 25, 2002. The Wellstones and their daughter, Marcia Wellstone Markuson, were killed in a plane crash just days before the 2002 election. Three Wellstone campaign aides and both pilots also died in the crash. Wellstone’s replacement in the election, former Vice President Walter Mondale, lost to Republican Norm Coleman. The screening will occur on the second anniversary of the crash.
The film portrays Wellstone as a champion of progressive causes and a man of the people. It tells how he organized for poor cafeteria workers as a graduate student at the University of North Carolina and got to know Capital Hill maintenance workers during his years in the Senate. The film prominently features his political activism. One former student recalls how Carleton students rallied to support Wellstone at a time when the administration worried that he focused too much on activism and not enough on teaching. In the Senate, Wellstone was not afraid to take unpopular positions, such as his opposition to the 1996 welfare reform legislation. He believed that public service was simply about helping people.
St. Paul-based Hard Working Pictures, Inc. produced the film as a nonprofit venture. Laurie Stern, who owns the company with her husband, Dan Luke, originally had no thought of making a documentary. When Wellstone’s plane went down, Stern asked Wellstone aides if she could accompany the campaign to record the chaos and emotion of its final days. While there, she was introduced to Shayna Berkowitz, a Minnesota progressive activist who wanted to make a tribute to the Wellstones. They decided to turn Stern’s footage into a documentary and then went on to record interviews with friends of the Wellstones, people whom he had helped over the years and other Senators, including Senator Coleman and Senator Hillary Clinton.
For more information and disability accommodations, call the Carleton chaplain’s office at (507) 646-4003.