Film Premiere of "Life Before Fairfield"

The Land, Animals & Native People of Jefferson County Iowa

Presented by Fair Field Productions & Fairfield Media Center

Sondheim Theater

Ticket Information


Due to capacity crowds of the two premier screenings of Life in Fairfield, there will be one final, free encore showing.

Did you ever wonder what Fairfield was like before there was a Fairfield? "LIFE BEFORE FAIRFIELD" is a documentary film that details the history of the land as well as the huge animals and native peoples who once lived in what is now Jefferson County, Iowa, well before the first contact with the Europeans.

Experience the impact of the Great Glacier that covered almost half of the state of Iowa thousands of years ago and how the subsequent ice melt impacted much of what is now Jefferson County. Explore the huge mammals that roamed our backyards such as huge tigers, giant ground sloths, bears, mammoths and the American Bison. In-depth interviews of everyone from local artifact hunters to state archaeologists and expert paleontologists. Tribal historians reveal the lives of the Ioway and Meskwaki tribes - the native peoples who once occupied this land until the time the Europeans arrived… before it became known as Fairfield. Hear the languages they spoke, see how they lived and discover the legacy they left behind.

The Fairfield History Series is an educational documentary series depicting the fascinating history of Fairfield Iowa and Jefferson County. We plan to release eight films of approximately fifty minutes in length over the next two to three years. This is an exciting time for our town as we have not had an attempt at a comprehensive look at Fairfield history since Susan Fulton Welty published "A Fair Field" almost 50 years ago!  Now comes a series of films that hope to leave a lasting legacy for generations to enjoy.

Future Series Film Titles
Ordinary Fairfielders doing extraordinary things to make a difference in our community and our world.

The people and forces behind economic development in Fairfield.

Learn about the almost 100 year history of this storied institution of higher education .
In 1974, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi brought his innovative educational programs to Fairfield and significantly changed our town.

Farming practices of Native Americans, European settlers, small family farms, big ag and sustainable organic farmers.

See and hear how artists and musicians influenced the development of our town throughout history.

Learn how young Fairfielders are changing our town and challenging established norms.Where is Fairfield headed?

For more information about the series or to learn how to help, go to


Fair Field Productions (a local non-profit educational organization) is partnering with Fairfield Media Center (FMC) to produce this film series about the history of Fairfield Iowa and the surrounding Jefferson County area. The eight-part Fairfield History Series is being produced and directed by Dick DeAngelis with FMC's Jason Strong as the Director of Photography. Editing is by L.A.-based (and Fairfield raised!) Geoff Boothby with sound mixing provided by Tim Britton. All music in the film is performed by musicians closely connected to the Fairfield area. These films were shot entirely in 4K by aerial photographer Rene Holmberg and other talented local camera people including Werner Elmker. The Fairfield History Series tells the stories if what makes Fairfield one of the most talked about small towns in America.

A tremendous amount of time goes into researching each film. Special thanks to the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, the Meskwaki Nation - the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, the Office of the State Archaeologist and all those local businesses and individuals who contributed to making "Life Before Fairfield" possible.

For more information about the Fairfield History Series or to learn how to help, go to or email