Darwin Twine Ball film to be shown April 18

DARWIN, MN – “The World’s Largest Ball of Twine” will be one of the featured films at the 2015 Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival, which began April 9 and continues through Saturday, April 25.

Ten Foot Ball of Twine

Ten Foot Ball of Twine

The film highlights the motivation behind Francis Johnson’s creation of Darwin’s twine ball, along with that of two others who have all competed against each other to create the largest ball of twine in the world. It is scheduled to be shown at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, April 18 at St. Anthony Main Theatre 4.

The film festival’s description for the documentary reads, “A quirky story about two Midwest farm towns and the values their Twine Balls represent. Francis Johnson of Minnesota and Frank Stoeber of Kansas go head-to-head in a ‘Battle of the Balls’ for over a half a century. In the end, a Texas Rancher, using plastic twine and a machine would beat them both.”

The documentary tells the story of the men who created the large balls of twine, and also portrays the grass roots values of conservation, patience, and perseverance, and America’s obsession with “bigger is better,” explained filmmaker Bryan Duggan in an interview with the Enterprise Dispatch in 2013.

The project began more than 10 years ago, when Bryan’s daughter KC took a road trip from California to New York, where she was a film student at Syracuse University.

Stopping to catch some famous roadside attraction along the way, one of those attractions was the largest ball of twine in Cawker City, MO. (Note: this was considered the largest ball of twine made by many).

Deciding to create a film based on the largest ball of twine, KC began doing research and discovered the Darwin ball of twine – the largest ball of twine made by one man – and came to the town’s celebration the following year.

Interviews with townspeople and with the nephew of the twine ball’s creator, Harlan Johnson are featured in the film.

Also a big part of the film are longtime curator of the Twine Ball Museum and Darwin resident Roger Werner, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not Vice President of Exhibits and Archives Edward Meyer, who has long been intrigued by the work of Francis Johnson.

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