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Film Profiling Walter "Fritz" Mondale Premiers Dec. 17

Contacts: Cynthia Huff, (612) 625-6691, huffx070@umn.edu

Ryan Mathre, University News Service, (612) 625-0552, mathre@umn.edu

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL ( 12/12/2008 ) -- A new feature-length documentary exploring the life and legacy of former Vice President Walter Mondale (University of Minnesota Law School Class of 1956) will have its broadcast premiere on Twin Cities Public Television (tpt), at 7 p.m, on Dec. 17.

"FRITZ: The Walter Mondale Story" documents Mr. Mondale's genuine concern for helping people and his life as a true public servant. In addition to vice president, he served as a U.S. senator, an ambassador to Japan and a dedicated advocate for civil rights, workers' rights and environmental issues.

"This film is telling a story for years to come about why you should stand up for your ideals. While it might take 20, 30, or 40 years to come to fruition, it's important to do, and it's important to dedicate your life to public service," said Ted Mondale, Walter's oldest son."

"Mondale's daughter, Eleanor Mondale, narrates "FRITZ", which includes family home videos, recently declassified papers from the vice presidential years and archival footage from tpt, WCCO-television, the KSTP-television news archive at the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) and other sources.

The Mondale family, students, colleagues, President Jimmy Carter, Sen. Geraldine Ferraro, Gov. Arne Carlson and Vice President Al Gore are interviewed. Reflecting on Mondale's transformation of the role of vice president, Gore said, "You can divide every vice president in American history into two categories: pre-Walter Mondale and post-Walter Mondale."

Award-winning Minnesota filmmaker Melody Gilbert directed the documentary, which was produced by Jan Selby. An original score was also written for the film by Chan Poling. Gilbert says she was inspired by Mondale's fight for civil rights and human rights over the years and decided to pursue his profile when she realized that no one had made such a film.

The film will become part of the permanent Mondale archives at MHS. "Preserving it is important," said Director of MHS Moving Pictures Film Festival Randal Dietrich. "Mondale not only helped shape world events and crucial cultural initiatives like the civil rights movement, but he also embodies the ideals of public service that were so prevalent in that generation."

"This film is named after me," said Mondale, "but it's really a film about Minnesota -- our values, the causes I've fought for, my family, what I learned here, the joys and blessings of public service. Service, decency and caring about the community -- that's the Minnesota story."

"FRITZ" will also be shown at 7 p.m. on Dec. 26 on tpt- channel 2 and statewide on Dec. 27 on tpt-17. In Jan. 2009 it will be available on Comcast On Demand, and DVD copies will be distributed to libraries and schools around the state. To purchase a DVD and learn more about "FRITZ" visit www.mondalefilm.org.