A Documentary Film in the Baking
How did Iowa become synonymous with pie? Why are Iowans and outsiders alike so obsessed with it? And what lengths will people go to for a slice? More importantly, how can pie unite us? Pie is nonpartisan, symbolizing kindness, comfort, generosity, and unity—all the things we need more of right now—making “PIEOWA” a call to action to keep the “nice” in “Iowa Nice.” Or “Pieowa nice.”
From Amish bakers barefoot in the kitchen using propane ovens to bake pie, to church ladies cranking out pies in rural church basements, from nostalgic diners to farmers markets, from generations old to young, to the fierce pie competitions of the Iowa State Fair, pie is woven into Iowa’s cultural fabric. There’s even a 500-mile bike ride across the state where people come from all over the world just so they can eat pie every day!
Producer/director of PIEOWA Beth Howard is the author of three pie-themed books and the former (and final) resident of the American Gothic House where she ran the Pitchfork Pie Stand. She will take us on a mouth-watering tour of her native state to explore pies of all kinds, meet the pie makers, learn the history of the “pieoneers” who brought it to the Midwest, its importance to Iowans, and why it rivals corn and hogs as an iconic part of Iowa’s identity. Howard has experienced first-hand the influence of this association as she once got hired as a pie baker in Malibu, California. When asked “What are your qualifications?” she answered, “I’m from Iowa,” and got the job! In the documentary, Howard will expand on the themes of her TEDx talk, in which she espouses pie’s healing powers, how pie can build community and how it can make the world a better place.
UPDATE AUG. 7, 2023:
We're back from eight days of filming, covering RAGBRAI, the Des Moines Register's annual bike ride across Iowa, which has become a pie-lover's mecca. Read about all the pie vendors in my blog post: 500 Miles of Pie Across Iowa. Scroll down to see photos from our July shoot.
Next, we go to the Iowa State Fair to cover the pie competition. Come find us there August 13, 14, 15. I'm giving a pie baking demo on Sunday, Aug. 13 at 3PM at the fairgrounds new demonstration kitchen. We are still looking for pie stories so please contact me if you have one to share.
Want a chance to be in the documentary film?
Are you selling pie — or hunting for pie — on the RAGBRAI route in July? Are you entering the pie competition at the Iowa State Fair or volunteering as a pie judge in August? Are you serving pie at your wedding? Do you know any pie bakers with a unique story? Someone who makes the world a better place through pie? Do you want to submit a video that might be included in the film? Could you help fund the production or support it with in-kind offerings? Please get in touch! [email protected]