Bonifas to present new film exploring Hemingway’s Michigan inspirations

October 12, 2017  |  by Bonifas Arts Center

All can deepen their understanding of Ernest Hemingway’s relationship with Michigan at the Upper Peninsula premiere of a new documentary film about the writer—Young Hemingway & His Enduring Eden—Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. at the Bonifas Arts Center.

The 60-minute film uses Hemingway’s words to explore his life during the times he spent near Walloon Lake, south of Petoskey, in “Windemere,” his family’s summer cottage, between 1899 and 1921—just after his birth, during his boyhood, and as a young man—as well as Michigan’s influence on his writing.

Hemingway, beloved by many for his novels—including The Sun Also Rises (1926), A Farewell to Arms (1929), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940), and The Old Man and the Sea (1952)—as well as his short stories and journalism, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954.

Michigan Hemingway Society President Chris Struble said that after Hemingway served as a Red Cross ambulance driver in Italy during WWI, he returned to the Petoskey area with “237 shrapnel wounds and a broken heart,” separated from a nurse he’d hoped to marry, but he’d later write, in A Farewell to Arms, “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places,” Katherine Rodeghier reported in the Chicago Tribune.

Some of Hemingway’s earlier short stories feature Nick Adams, a character noted for being much like Hemingway, and are set in the Walloon Lake-area, depicting places Hemingway knew and loved, Rodeghier reported.

The film features insights from Hemingway scholars, family members, other writers, editors of the Hemingway Letters Project at Pennsylvania State University, and Michigan residents from the area where Hemingway lived.

This summer, a sculpture of Hemingway as a young man, created by Gladstone artist Andy Sacksteder, was unveiled at Pennsylvania Park in downtown Petoskey. The statue was commissioned and put in place to honor Hemingway’s life and work and highlight his connection to the region—just as the film aims to do. A 1920 photograph of Hemingway, taken in Petoskey, guided Sacksteder’s creation, the Petoskey News-Review reported.

During a post-viewing “afterglow,” Sacksteder ( and filmmaker George A. Colburn ( will answer questions.

The film also will be presented, in conjunction with this public viewing, to local high school students, who will have the chance to learn from the filmmaker, too.

A partnership between the Friends of the Escanaba Public Library and the Bonifas made the film’s U.P. premiere possible, as did additional support from Bichler Gravel & Concrete Company. The documentary and its education components were made possible, in part, by Contemporary Learning Systems, in East Lansing, and Petoskey-based Starbright Media, which was founded by Colburn.

Tickets, on sale now online, can be purchased at the Bonifas or by calling 786-3833, for $10 each or $15 per pair.

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