Thursday, October 5, 2017

BLOOD ROAD / Nick Schrunk Returns to UNI

It was in October 2015 that one of our most accomplished graphic design alumni, Red Bull filmmaker Nick Schrunk, returned to the University of Northern Iowa to meet with current students. His talk was a great success, the semester's high point. As his former teachers, we are both proud and appreciative of his remarkable achievements.

Among the things he shared with us were in-process insights into the production of his first feature film, titled BLOOD ROAD. A powerful documentary on a mountain bike retracing of 1,200 miles of the Ho Chi Minh Trail (an 8-week endurance trek) in Vietnam, it was released earlier this year, to awards and wide acclaim. The official trailer is on YouTube, and the film itself is available online through Amazon Video, YouTube, Google, iTunes and other sources.

The two mountain bikers in the film are American athlete Rebecca Rusch and her Vietnamese riding partner, Huyen Nguyen. Part of Rusch's motivation was to try to locate the site where her father (a US Air Force pilot) was fatally shot down some forty years ago in Laos.

In a few days, Nick Schrunk is returning to the UNI campus again, this time to screen the finished film, to reflect on film production, and to revisit the painful reminders of the Vietnam War (survivors are still being injured or killed by buried explosives and the enduring effects of chemical defoliants).

The timing of this could hardly be more opportune, since Nick's visit to campus follows by a week or two the premiere of Ken Burns' new, ten-part PBS documentary on the horrid consequences of that war, and the increasing likelihood that we and other countries have and will continue to engage in comparable atrocities. It is especially critical for younger, current Americans—those who did not witness the war—to be aware of the damage that governments do.

The screening of BLOOD ROAD is free and open to the public. It will take place on Monday, October 9 in Sabin Hall Room 002 on the UNI campus. Despite what it says on the poster, the starting time is 7:30, not 7:00.

Don't miss it.