Three Films by Filmmakers of the Heartland

A virtual showing of the event and films by heartland filmmakers John Voss, William Jacobs, and Wes Brooks.

These distinctly Midwestern films can be streamed on this page, virtually representing the event held on April 28th, 2023. Three Peoria-based filmmakers of central Illinois showed their original films in one night to a heartland audience at Illinois Central College in East Peoria, IL.

Made in Peoria

A three-hour program of original central Illinois moviemaking. Stream any of them below.

Film OneMoving Through the Day, a summer stroll at Peoria’s beloved Donovan Park by John Voss. (5 min.)
Film TwoA Moment Is Enough, a poignant look at a poet’s search for love and God; a prelude of Poet in a Modern World by William Jacobs. (15 min.)
Film ThreeSpace Prairie, a big-hearted frolicking adventure harkening to classics with a splash of sci-fi by Wes Brooks. (2 hrs.)

At the bottom of this page, you are encouraged to donate any amount as a ‘Thank You’ for your digital seat — and of belief in visual storytelling of the heartland with Mourning Dove Films, John Voss Media, and Space Prairie.

* To view event & films: See YouTube playlist or scroll through this page with embedded videos and article highlights *

Event Trailer

Event trailer. (2 min.)

“We are offering what Hollywood isn’t—beauty and heart. These three films are made by ordinary people who care for and love ordinary things. Building alternatives is no easy feat and so we hope that our projects receive the necessary support for the continuation of beautiful cinema made in Peoria.” —William Jacobs; 4/4/23 in the Springfield Herald News.

“Our three films are wildly different from each other’s but contain similar passions. We are constantly engaged in each other’s work, sharing insights and beliefs, and that has for years been a way of life, a vocational pursuit, and a brotherly fellowship.” —Wes Brooks; 4/21/23 in the Peoria Journal Star.

“Peoria is my home. I’ve continued to find myself and so much beauty in it, primarily in its landscapes and its people.” —John Voss; 4/26/23 in The Community Word.

Film One

Event Intro / John Voss on Moving Through the Day. (6 min.)

“Peoria is my home,” reflects Voss. “I’ve continued to find myself and so much beauty in it, primarily in its landscapes and its people. Moving Through the Day features my beautiful girlfriend, Taylor, spending a day in Peoria’s picturesque Donovan Park. I believe films are a place where modern myth flourishes. We’re all figuring out how to navigate reality with everything we do, including art. Over time, by using film to express myself through inspired images, I’ve further understood who I am and things I’m processing or ‘moving through.’ You could say that Moving Through the Day is a confrontation with the passing of the day and an expression of my love for a couple of things that I find a home in.”

Moving Through the Day

Moving Through the Day by John Voss. (5 min.)

Film Two

William Jacobs on A Moment Is Enough. (4 min.)

“I feel as though, for the very first time as a filmmaker, I am finally making a film,” reflects Jacobs after completing A Moment Is Enough, an ascetically demanding project created on 16 mm film, an excerpt of the feature-length Poet in a Modern World, a story about “choosing Beauty in a world defying it,” now in production in Peoria. “What we experience in cinema ought to clarify the common linkage between us as human beings struggling to exist in this world as spiritual creatures—the very things that go beyond mere politics, celebrity, and social media,” says Jacobs. “It is beauty that binds us as a civilization; it is beauty that calls us to be more than what we are.” While filming in a “stifling and cramped room,” Jacobs lauds “what cinema really is: an edifying expedition into time.”

A Moment Is Enough

A Moment Is Enough by William Jacobs. (15 min.)
William Jacobs on Poet in a Modern World. (6 min.)

“The Heartland needs a voice,” says Jacobs, founder of Mourning Dove Films. “What audiences will see at this screening is a glimpse of what is possible when filmmakers remain creating in the Midwest, untrammeled by politics and groveling studio executives. We are offering what Hollywood isn’t—beauty and heart. These three films are made by ordinary people who care for and love ordinary things. Building alternatives is no easy feat and so we hope that our projects receive the necessary support for the continuation of beautiful cinema made in Peoria.”

Bonus: A scene from Poet in a Modern World by William Jacobs. (4 min.)

Film Three

Wes Brooks on Space Prairie. (4 min.)

Brooks began writing Space Prairie when he was sixteen, two summers before filming and starting college. “After years of health issues as a child, I began to heal as a teenager and wanted Space Prairie to be a joyride for us, a production journey that felt like a Sunday afternoon drive in a roofless car—a gleeful breeze blowing through us beneath puffy, sunbaked clouds. Alongside the enormously absurd effort we put in, that’s exactly what it was: a gift of healing and creative fulfillment for us.” In Space Prairie, an interplanetary taxman and a pioneer family sight a troubling anomaly in the starry skies above their isolated prairie world—a whimsical and epic tale of romance, robots, and the will to survive.

Space Prairie: Act I

1st half of Space Prairie: Act I by Wes Brooks. (67 min.)
2nd half of Space Prairie: Act I by Wes Brooks. (57 min.)

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