Saving Brinton

“Best Movies of 2018: Top 10 Nonfiction Films.”

Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post

Saving Brinton

2018 | Runtime: 87 Mins

In rural Iowa, eccentric collector and school teacher Michael Zahs makes a remarkable discovery: a basement of film reels and ephemera that once belonged to William Franklin Brinton, the man who brought moving pictures to the Heartland. To preserve the past and connect it to the future, Michael packs projector and film into his aging pickup truck and sets out on a journey to restore Brinton’s extraordinary legacy. This endearing story of cinema and community world premiered at AFI Docs, played on PBS as part of America Reframed, uncovered multiple lost films, and inspired a dedicated preservation project to ensure these films and relics would not be lost again.


Rotterdam International Film Festival
Audience Award – Top 10

93% Fresh Rotten Tomatoes

Edinburgh International
Film Festival

Best Feature Documentary Nominee

AFI Docs World Premiere 2017

America ReFramed
PBS National Broadcast

Thessaloniki International Documentary Film Festival


“The average documentary would gawk, this one reclassifies.”
Wesley Morris, The New York Times

“Endearing and affectionate.”
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“Delightful. Anyone who loves movies is bound to love Saving Brinton.”
Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter

“Absorbing, heartwarming tale.”
Pamela Hutchinson, The Guardian

“A Daring Film, charming in its simplicity, remarkable in its execution.” Houston Film Critics

“One of the most unlikely, yet most likable, heroes of contemporary nonfiction cinema.”
Eric Althoff, The Washington TImes