Clarksville, Iowa

An air date is set for a documentary that will focus, in part, on the northeast Iowa town of Clarksville.

The National Geographic film “Paris to Pittsburgh” details the effects of climate change. Clarksville Mayor Val Swinton says his town was targeted by the film’s producers because of two devastating floods in 2008 and 2016.

“They came up here one day last May and they spent the entire day in Clarksville interviewing me, Frank Vance and Cory Feckers – two people whose homes received major damage as a result of the flood in 2016,” Swinton said. Nearly 300 Clarksville residents were forced out their homes in September 2016 when torrential rains pushed the Shell Rock River over a temporary levee. Earlier this year, Clarksville was placed in the national spotlight thanks to Maddie Poppie.

“So, for a while last summer, this was pretty heavy stuff,” Swinton said. “I mean, we’re being featured on ABC’s American Idol with Maddie Poppie and then National Geographic calls and says they want us to be part of their documentary. So, it was pretty interesting.”
The documentary is critical of President Donald Trump’s decision to exit the Paris Climate Agreement. Swinton said, regardless of political views, he’s confident the filmmakers will be “fair” to the town of Clarksville.

“The people who came up here were very friendly and very encouraging,” Swinton said. “So, I think they’re going to put Clarksville in a good light.” Paris to Pittsburgh is scheduled to air on National Geographic TV on December 12 at 8 p.m., Iowa time. Information on the website for the film shows it will air in 172 countries and 45 languages.

(By Kellan Heavican, KCHA, Charles City)