A Little Salsa on the Prairie: The Changing Character
of Perry, Iowa
, a documentary that chronicles the rapid ethnic diversification of
the community, drew hundreds of viewers when it premiered in October 2006 in Perry
and Des Moines, Iowa. In addition, the film won the Gold Eddy for Professional Documentary
at the Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival.
The 55-minute film explores the significant change that began in Perry in the early
1990s when the complexion of a once predominantly white community shifted dramatically.
An influx of Latino workers and their families came from as far away as Texas, California,
Mexico and Central America to work at the local meat packing plant. Perry's Latino
population increased from 47 in 1990 to 1,873 in 2000, accounting for 24.5 percent
of the total population.
The film presents a historical look at the city, particularly immigration, ethnicity
and industry, including the rise and fall of the railroad and the emergence of meat
packing as the major employer in the 1960s.
Examines recent changes in the economy, society and physical environment that arose
due to Latino immigration.
Documents a bilingual dialog process concerned with the state of the city, especially
issues pertinent to immigration, employment and social relations between different
Provides residentsí commentary concerning their plans, fears and hopes for the city.
The documentary was produced by Jody Swilky, professor of English at Drake University,
and Kent Newman, owner of Full Spectrum Productions and president of the Iowa Motion
Picture Association. They found Perry to be representative of many rural communities
in the Midwest that experienced rapid ethnic diversification during the 1980s and
90s, primarily due to changes in the livestock and meat packing industry.
Get your copy today!
The English version of the film is now available for purchase at Full Spectrum Productions. DVD copies
are $30 (includes shipping in the continental United States).
To get your copy, you can click here to order online, or send check or money order payable to 'Little Salsa on the Prairie'
Full Spectrum Productions
409 E. Holcomb Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50313
Special screenings with the writer and director can be arranged for your organization.
To arrange a screening, email Kent Newman,
Jody Swilky, or call 515-883-1230.