Film Profiling Walter "FRITZ" Mondale ('56) to Air on TPT
DECEMBER 12, 2008–A new feature-length documentary exploring the life and legacy of former Vice President Walter Mondale ('56) will have its broadcast premiere on Twin Cities Public Television (tpt), Dec. 17, 2008, at 7 p.m.
"FRITZ: The Walter Mondale Story" documents Mr. Mondale's genuine concern for helping people and his life as a true public servant. In addition to Vice President, he served as a U.S. Senator, an Ambassador to Japan, and a dedicated advocate for civil rights, workers' rights, environmental issues, and much more.
After Mr. Mondale's elder son, Ted, viewed the documentary, he said, "This film is telling a story for years to come about why you should stand up for your ideals. While it might take 20, 30, or 40 years to come to fruition, it's important to do, and it's important to dedicate your life to public service."
Mr. Mondale's daughter, Eleanor Mondale, narrates FRITZ, which includes family home videos, recently declassified papers from the Vice Presidential years, and archival footage from tpt, WCCO-television, the KSTP-television news archive at the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS), and other sources.
The Mondale family, students, colleagues, President Jimmy Carter, Senator Geraldine Ferraro, Governor Arne Carlson, and Vice President Al Gore are interviewed. Reflecting on Mr. Mondale's transformation of the role of vice president, Gore comments, "You can divide every vice president in American history into two categories: pre-Walter Mondale and post-Walter Mondale."
Award-winning Minnesota filmmaker Melody Gilbert directed the documentary, Jan Selby produced it, and Chan Poling wrote an original score for it. Gilbert says she was inspired by Mr. Mondale's fight for civil rights and human rights over the years and decided to pursue his profile when she realized that no one had made such a film. She learned another of his traits after he eventually agreed to let her follow him around for two years: "Mr. Mondale doesn't like to brag about himself."
The film will become part of the permanent Mondale archives at MHS. Preserving it is important, says Director of MHS' Moving Pictures Film Festival Randal Dietrich, because "Mr. Mondale not only helped shape world events and crucial cultural initiatives like the civil rights movement, but he also embodies the ideals of public service that were so prevalent in that generation."
"This film is named after me," Mr. Mondale says, "but it's really a film about Minnesota—our values, the causes I've fought for, my family, what I learned here, the joys and blessings of public service. Service, decency, and caring about the community—that's the Minnesota story."
FRITZ will also be shown at 7 p.m. on Dec. 26 on tpt-2 and statewide on Dec. 27 on tpt-17. In January 2009 it will be available on Comcast On Demand and DVDs will be distributed to libraries and schools around the state. DVDs and more about FRITZ will be available at www.mondalefilm.org.