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Tucson filmmaker brings life of American furniture icon to the screen

A Tucsonan is debuting a documentary at the Loft Cinema.
Posted at 7:10 AM, Mar 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-04 09:10:46-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — "Do you know the name Stickley? If they do know it, they'll say furniture but there's so much more to it."

That's a clip from Tucson filmmaker Herb Stratford's new documentary. He hopes to show you there's so much more to the name, Gustav Stickley.

"I've done a few short films before this, but this is the first time I have directed a feature length documentary, which is a much heavier lift." Startford and his crew, based right here in the old pueblo, spent four years working on this project.

"We were sort of surprised that there had never been a film about Gustav Stickley. I think it was just one of these strange things where somebody who is such an iconic figure has somehow slipped through the cracks," Stratford said. But that won't be the case anymore. "When you make a documentary, you think you know where you're going, but the story really takes you where you need to go and so there were definitely some twists and turns," Stratford said.

One of those twists and turns was Covid. "The only really big challenge was dealing with Covid because our plan had been to release the film last spring and so, we had to wait a year until things were sort of calming down."

The wait is finally over and starting this Friday through virtual cinema, the documentary is showing in about 22 different states including Southern Arizona. "The Loft Cinema has picked up the film, so that's a way a local theater to be supporting us and for our audience to support The Loft, which does a great job with showing independent films, like our film," Stratford said.

Stratford hopes the film reaches fans of the American furniture icon and maybe even creates some new fans. "Also it opens the door to a lot of new people who maybe have heard the name, but don't know the story and so this kind of like starts them on that journey of finding out more about Stickley and the movement and the artworks and everything of the American Arts and Crafts movement."

The documentary took the crew to about 12 different locations across the country. From Florida to Michigan, carrying with them a special Tucson connection.

"Even though it's not a Tucson story, it feels very Tucson, because of the fact that we all live here. All of us who made this film," Stratford said.

The documentary is being shown at The Loft Cinema starting tomorrow, Friday March 5. Click here for more information.