Last weekend was the premiere of a movie filmed in the northern part of the state last year. It's a movie that's based on true events that happened in Iowa nearly 80 years ago, that few Iowans even knew about. Until now.

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Scenes for the movie were shot in Algona, Forest City, and Whittemore, Iowa all in north central Iowa, mostly in November of 2021. A number of area residents were used as extras in the film, which is called "Silent Night in Algona".

The movie is inspired by actual events that happened at a prisoner-of-war camp in the state of Iowa during World War II. Yes, German POWs were held in Iowa during the war. PR Log says there were actually 700 camps in the Midwest, that housed Germans in not only WWII but WWI as well. Approximately 425,000 Germans were held at those camps.

Why was the camp in Algona, Iowa selected for the movie? According to PR Log, it was "because of a unique 'gift' made by a group of prisoners and presented to the town of Algona, at Christmastime." *If you don't want to know what that gift is, please don't read the text of the Camp Algona historical marker in the photo below.

Camp Algona covered 287 acres, had more than 70 buildings, and could house over 3,000 prisoners at one time during WWII. More than 10,000 Germans were processed at the camp from 1943 to 1946.

You can see the official trailer for the movie below.

'Silent Night in Algona' premiered at the Fridley Theatres State 5 Theatre in Algona on Friday, December 9. An extension has been announced at that theater. Here are the theaters we know are showing the movie, and when:

  • State 5 Theatre (Algona, Iowa) through December 22
  • Stuart Fremont Theatre (Stuart, Iowa) December 16 through 20
  • Riviera Theatre (Emmetsburg, Iowa) December 16 through 22

The movie will also be shown at Celebration Cinema in Lansing and Grand Rapids, Michigan Friday, December 16 through Thursday, December 22. Collective Development Incorporated, the company responsible for the movie, is based in Michigan, as is director Anthony Hornus.

I reached out to Marcus Theatres and Collins Road Theatres in Cedar Rapids to see if they'd be showing the film. Marcus Theatres said they didn't believe so but couldn't confirm that for sure. Bruce Taylor at Collins Road Theatres says he's in communication with one of the film's producers about securing a screen but doesn't have anything finalized yet. Stay tuned.

'Silent Night in Algona' is expected to be shown in theaters during 2023, as well. If you're not able to see it on the big screen, it's expected to be released to TV, streaming, and DVD in late 2023.

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