At the request of a great many moviegoers, Mike has shared the reading from his mother Elaine’s memorial. The reading is a combination of a number of unattributed eulogies.

Death, like birth, is only a transformation, another birth
When we die we shall change our state, that is all

And with faith in god it is as easy and natural as going to sleep here and waking up there

You can shed tears that she is gone
Or you can smile because she has lived

You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left

Your heart can be empty because you cannot see her
Or you can be full of the love that she shared

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow, because of yesterday

You can remember her and only that she is gone
Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what she would want, smile, open your eyes, love and go on

Remember what the caterpillar perceives as the end
The butterfly sees only the beginning

IOWA CITY, IA (August 31, 2017) — The first movies ever shown in Iowa are back. Announcing Saving Brinton‘s “Barnstorming Brinton Iowa Tour,” an eight-city screening tour for the acclaimed film.

Saving Brinton is the story of Michael Zahs, an eccentric Iowa collector who uncovers five hours of film from the early 1900s that once belonged to Frank Brinton, one of America’s most successful barnstorming moving picture exhibitors.

Watch the trailer for the film or visit the official website at

Produced by Iowa City filmmakers Tommy Haines, John Richard and Andrew Sherburne, the film premiered at the American Film Institute’s prestigious AFI Docs festival in June. Now the film is touring it’s home state beginning September 17 in Washington, Iowa at the World’s Oldest Movie Theatre.

Each of the nine screenings will be followed by a live Q&A with film subject Michael Zahs and the filmmakers. Select screenings will feature an additional presentation of restored silent films from the collection from such famed filmmakers as Thomas Edison, the Lumière Brothers and Georges Méliès.

Saving Brinton is fully produced in Iowa by Barn Owl Pictures, a collaboration between Northland Films and Bocce Ball Films, with support and assistance from Washington County Riverboat Foundation, The Frank and Ina Brinton Educational Charitable Trust, Humanities Iowa, Iowa Arts Council, Produce Iowa, Trish McDonald, John and Kay Hegarty, The Gilchrist Foundation, FilmScene and the University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections.

For a list of dates and venues, visit our screenings page.

The Brinton Collection contains films, slides, projectors, papers, and other documents from the life and career of William Franklin Brinton of Washington, IA. The collection was preserved for many years by Michael Zahs, and has donated to the University of Iowa Libraries beginning in 2014.

View the collection online here.

Brinton was an itinerant showman, travelling from Texas to Minnesota to project slides, film, and stage other entertainments during the years 1895-1909. He was also the manager of the Graham Opera House in Washington, which is still an active movie theater today and was recently declared the longest continually operating cinema in the world. Brinton was an eccentric and energetic individual, and the collection not only preserves some of the earliest commercially available film, it also contains material related to Brinton’s experimental interests, such as his passion for designing flying machines long before human flight became a reality.

This site will be developed as material in the collection is digitized. The collection is open for research and may be consulted by viewing the finding aid.

It’s official! Saving Brinton’s World Premiere happens at the AFI Docs Film Festival in Washington DC.

Tickets on sale for the general public on May 15.

Public Screenings at AFI Docs

Saturday, June 17 at 4:15 PM
AFI Silver Theatre – Theater 2
8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910
In-person: Directors Tommy Haines, John Richard and Andrew Sherburne and film subject Mike Zahs

Sunday, June 18 at 4:15 PM
Landmark E Street Theatre – Theater 7
555 11th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004
In-person: Directors Tommy Haines, John Richard and Andrew Sherburne and film subject Mike Zahs

Read the full AFI Docs slate announcement.