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One on One with Tanna Frederick: 'Garner, Iowa'

One on One with Tanna Frederick: 'Garner, Iowa'

Photo credit Odyssey Barbu

Photo credit Odyssey Barbu

Earlier this month I got the chance to sit down with an actress who many may not know or recognize, but ladies and gentlemen be on the look out for Tanna Frederick. We don't often see such beauty, talent, sincerity, and passion stay hidden for very long. Her current work has focused on the stage and independent film projects, but I won't be surprised if we see her in something large scale in the future.

We spent most of the time talking about her soon to be premiered work, Garner, Iowa, a personal and independent project that I can only describe as what independent film making should be at its core. The passion to story telling is what many movies, even huge blockbuster films, are missing today. 

The story of Garner, Iowa revolves around a single mother moving back to her childhood home of Garner, Iowa to deal with some personal demons. The film opens with a bipolar single mother, played by Frederick, holding up a gas station. In Tanna's words this "film is about a bipolar mother having a second chance at life." Powerful and passionate stories of redemption like this typically translate well onto the screen, and the dedication to telling a home grown story is really selling this film for me. The majority of this film was shot in Iowa, incorporating communities of people and that gives this film the "small town America" hero feel that were the corner stone of movies like The Rocketeer, Doc Holliday, or Field of Dreams, but provides the dark twist of dealing with a mental illness that wrecks the lives of so many.

It's quite refreshing to get a chance to sit down and talk to someone like Tanna Frederick. What finally sold me on her and Garner, Iowa, was when she discussed the actual story telling element that surrounds the state of Iowa.

When I first moved out here [to California] so many people said, “Oh, I drove through Iowa once.” and that kinda seems to be the extent of people’s familiarity with Nebraska and other states in the Midwest. What they don’t know, and this isn’t their fault, but unless you know the people and the stories from there. The generations of stories and struggles, you can’t really get a sense of the family life and the beauty of the state. It truly is how to make an American quilt. Everyone has a story, every family has a story to be told.
— Tanna Frederick

I can't wait to see Garner, Iowa. If it gets screened at any of the film festivals through out Texas, you can count me there. This is a powerful story about redemption that should be seen and shared. Why do we create art except to share our stories, help others, and connect with others? Garner, Iowa is the essence of what independent film should be. It was produced by a passionate crew without care for profits. They wanted to tell a powerful story and create something beautiful, and it sounds like they did that. Be on the look out for Garner, Iowa.

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