Interviewing Iowa's Former Governor & Other Cool Film Experiences

by Dominic Hanson

Duane Anderson, Maria Pearson, and Derrick Willard

It is surreal to realize that we began this amazing project nine weeks ago. In the beginning, we were eager and looking forward to connecting with great people to tell a story about a great and very influential woman. In the weeks that have followed, we are getting closer to the final product and powerful story about Maria Pearson.

This past week was filled with fascinating interviews with some influential and key players connected to Maria’s activism. Read below about each days' happenings.


Monday was a day for review and for the group to catch up with each other and figure out where we are in the process. As we get closer, projects like scriptwriting and creating a movie poster are at the top of our list for endeavors to achieve.

In addition to the promotional and production aspect, we had the opportunity to speak with Maria’s personal advisor Irma Wilson White, one of Maria's friends and colleagues. Although she is living in Iowa, due to COVID-19 and the protocols we had to conduct a virtual meeting via phone call. Nathan, Silvia and I set up in the department’s podcast studio for the interview. The information was enlightening and brought a unique perspective from someone who was very close with Maria.


Wednesday brought more of the same editing endeavors for the final film script and narration as well as editing the movie poster.

On Wednesday, we had the opportunity to interview former State Archeologist Duane Anderson. He worked closely with Maria and informed Maria of anything that may concern her or the Native American community in Iowa. It was certainly interesting to hear his perspective, as many other archaeologists did not always understand the guidelines in place due to the Native American-focused Iowa Burials Act.


With a busy week almost in the books, we had one final interview to conduct. With other promotion and production projects going on, Nathan and I had the pleasure to interview former Iowa Governor and U.S. Ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, via Zoom.

Maria Pearson and Terry Branstad

Together, Terry Branstad and Maria worked to make sure that the issues that were brought up around the state concerning Native American affairs were taken care of properly. The former governor had quite a few personal stories to tell about Maria. He offered a unique view of Maria’s story and how she interacted with the state of Iowa. We cannot wait to include these in the film!

Overall, this week was very productive and added to the incredible story that we are continuing to put together to represent the powerful and influential Maria Pearson.

Dominic Hanson is the Cinematographer for Simplex Stories. Originally from La Farge, WI, he has four years of experience in videography, audio production and visual design. Feel free to reach him at

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