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Drake University receives grant in support of feature documentary about the Iowa Caucuses

August 18, 2014

Drake University has received a major grant of $10,000 from Humanities Iowa in support of Phase 1 preproduction development of a feature documentary about the Iowa Caucuses. Kent Newman of Full Spectrum Productions is working in partnership with the Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement and the Iowa Caucus Project at Drake University to develop and produce the documentary, intended for national network or cable broadcast in 2016.

“First in the Nation: The Evolution of the Iowa Caucuses” will investigate and explain the Iowa precinct caucuses and why they matter to the American public. The project aims to educate Americans about the evolution of the caucuses, the unique role they play in American politics, the cultural and political dynamics that shape caucus participation and outcomes, and the ways that the Iowa caucuses influence national political discourse. The film will feature commentary from current and former candidates and staff, federal office holders, national and international media personalities, academic authorities, Iowa elected and party officials, and Iowa voters.

The Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement seeks to contribute to public understanding of policymaking, political processes, and the electoral environment through a range of non-partisan programs and events. The Iowa Caucus Project will provide diverse opportunities to engage students and citizens in the caucus process.

Drake University is also establishing the Iowa Caucus Collection in the Drake University Archives at Cowles Library as a repository for all Iowa caucus film, photos, video, candidate advertising, and other memorabilia. These materials will be used in the production of the documentary, including items from the earliest years of the Iowa caucuses beginning in 1972. Anyone who would like to contribute Iowa caucus memorabilia is invited to contact Estelle Montgomery at 515-271-3591 or

Drake University is currently raising funds to match the Humanities Iowa grant. Phases 2 and 3 of the production will take place during 2015 and the first half of 2016, with the documentary premiering in spring or summer 2016.

Financial contributions to support the documentary may be made to Drake University and are tax-deductible. For information on making a contribution, please contact Laura Berardi at 515-271-3233 or