Seventh annual Jean Seberg Festival slated for Nov. 3-5

Each November, Marshalltown’s favorite daughter is honored in a three-day long Jean Seberg Festival of the Arts, held at the IVCCD Orpheum Theater Center, located at 220 E. Main St., through a combination of film screenings, tours, panel discussions, art, live entertainment and more. This year’s festival has been coordinated by long-time contributor Nancy Adams, plus a legion of volunteers along the way. Of particular interest will be the appearance of Nicolas Gessner, who once directed Seberg in a movie. He will be on hand to lead a discussion, following the screening of that film.

Festivities will kick-off Friday, Nov. 3, with theater doors opening at 5:30 p.m. From 6-7:30 p.m., attendees can enjoy music performed by festival favorites, husband/wife team Amy Adams & Mark Adams-Westin, have drinks and hors d’oeuvres, and view the art exhibit and black books containing mementos of Seberg’s life and career. A graduating MHS student will be given the Jean Seberg Drama Award, followed by a Reader’s Theater performance of “Sabrina Fair” and “Stardust” (plays in which Seberg performed in high school), directed by MCC Professor David Engel. Friday night’s admission is a flat fee of $15.

A total of 17 artists from around the world have submitted 19 pieces of artwork — inspired by Seberg in some way. Two and three-dimensional objects will be showcased, including paintings, fiber, ceramic, pottery and photography. Attendees can vote for which piece should win the “People’s Choice” award, which gives the winner a $150 cash prize. Voting will be cut off Saturday night, after that day’s portion of the festivities comes to an end. Some of the artwork will be made available for purchase, at the discretion of the artist.

“Our theme this year is ‘From Stage to Screen,'” Adams said. “This is really the first time we’ve ever honored Jean’s stage work, which started here in Marshalltown.”

On Saturday, Nov. 4, doors will open at 9:30 a.m. From 10-11:30 a.m., a roundtable discussion “Jean Forever Relevant” will be held, hosted by British writer Cedric Pulford in the Orpheum’s Black Box.

From 11:45-1 p.m., a Guided Legacy Tour of 12 key Seberg sites in Marshalltown will take place. Cost is $5 (to be driven around). Jeanine Loros will lead the tour. Stops will include the Seberg Pharmacy, childhood home, Riverside Cemetery, and more.

Also going on at that time will be “Memories of Jean,” held at the theater. MCC’s Steve Muntz will film attendees who care to share their thoughts and memories of Seberg — whether or not they knew her personally or are merely fans.

“We want to capture these thoughts and add them to our archives,” Adams explained.

From 1:15-2:15 p.m., British musician/filmmaker/writer Jude Rawlins will lead a symposium in the Black Box, entitled “Rebel Without a Pause” discussing Seberg’s social activism.

From 2:30-4:30 p.m. will be a screening ($6) of the 1965 Seberg film “Diamonds Are Brittle” followed by a Q&A with the film’s director Nicolas Gessner, who is traveling from Europe to make the appearance.

“This is a coup for us; it’s the first time someone who ever directed Jean in a film will be a guest speaker,” Adams said. “Nicolas credits Jean’s star power in turning the picture into a hit.”

Adams said a team of folks locally and abroad worked tirelessly to create English subtitles for the movie’s Marshalltown screening, as it was shot entirely in French.

Saturday’s events will conclude with a 6 p.m. showing of the Seberg musical “Paint Your Wagon” ($6), which costarred Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin.

The festival winds down on Sunday, Nov. 5, with doors opening at 9:30 a.m. (A flat fee of $6 will be charged for general admission). From 9:30-10:30 a.m., “Sights and Sounds of Previous Festivals” will be screened, followed by a second opportunity to document your memories and thoughts of the late actress through “Memories of Jean,” available from 10-10:30 a.m.

From 10:30-11:45 a.m., the French documentary “Eternelle” will be shown, featuring a wide array of people connected to Seberg.

“While it is in French, it is still easy to follow, and it will give people a sense of how French folks view Jean,” Adams said.

At 11:45 a.m., the People’s Choice winner of the art contest will be announced, followed by closing remarks. Artists must arrange to have the artwork returned to them by the week of December 4.

“Even if Jean hadn’t made a film, we’d still be talking about her today. She was multifaceted and fearless,” Adams concluded.


Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or