Barn quilt documentary to premiere in Sac City

-Messenger file photo by Hans Madsen
Sue Peyton, with Barn Quilts of Sac County, poses with the barn quilt on her family’s home farm near Lytton in 2013. A documentary about barn quilts and their history will premier in Sac County Monday. Some of the Sac County Quilts are featured in the film.

SAC CITY — A barn quilt documentary created by an award-winning producer will have its Iowa premiere Monday in Sac City.

“Pieced Together” is a documentary about the popularity of barn quilts in America and how they came to be.

The screening will be at 7 p.m. Monday at First Christian Church, 521 Park Ave., in Sac City.

Sue Peyton, a member of the Barn Quilts of Sac County committee, said Sac City is one of just two places in Iowa that will be having a screening of the documentary; the other is Winterset.

The documentary, according to Peyton, is about Donna Sue Groves, a woman from Adams County, Ohio, who is credited with starting the barn quilt movement across America.

-Messenger file photo by Hans Madsen
From left, Gene Weitzel, Jerry Staton and Neil Mason pose in front of Mason’s restored barn in 2013. The barn quilt design is called Blazing Star. A documentary about barn quilts that feature some of the ones from Sac County will premier there Monday.

“Her mother lived with her and they had this really ugly tobacco barn on an acreage they bought,” Peyton said. “Donna Sue decided to pretty up the barn and paint a barn quilt to honor her mother.”

But after putting up the first barn quilt, Peyton said Groves was inspired to create more. She eventually got a group of people together and started a movement to get barn quilts put on rural properties.

Additionally, Peyton said barn quilts helped Groves after she lost her job and was diagnosed with cancer.

“She’s the heart and soul of the barn quilt movement,” Peyton said.

Sac County has its own unique history with barn quilts. Peyton said her son, Kevin Peyton, helped get a barn quilt project started in the county when he was a junior in high school about 13 years ago.

“We had a very successful project here in 2005 and 2006,” Sue Peyton said. “We had 55 barn quilts up and on barns.”

She said everybody was supportive of the barn quilt project, and many of those barn quilts are still standing today.

“It was sort of a perfect storm for us to shine in terms of the barn quilt movement,” she said.

A local book was even written about the barn quilts. Funds from that book go towards the maintenance of the quilts.

“We have begun the process of refreshing them,” Peyton said.

Nobody locally has seen the documentary yet, but Peyton said she’s been told that footage from Sac County is in the documentary.

“We’re curious what part of the interviews, photos of barns made the final cut,” Peyton said. “I’ve seen several barns in the final cut of the trailer.”

“Pieced Together” was directed and produced by Julianne Donofrio, a Peabody Award-winning producer who once worked for ABC News.

Peyton said Donofrio will be at the premiere on Monday and available to answer any questions after the screening.

According to Peyton, the documentary was partially crowd-funded, and the Barn Quilts of Sac County committee contributed to the campaign to get the documentary produced.

“We’re very excited, obviously,” she said. “We’ve known that this film was coming for four or five years. It’s been in production quite awhile.”

Doors open at the church at 6:15 p.m. Monday, with the movie starting at 7 p.m.

Peyton said the premiere is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served.


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