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Published October 11, 2021
A former professor’s journey to find a historical rock has become a documentary by a University of Wyoming alumnus.
“Morfar’s View of the Winds” is scheduled to premiere on Wyoming PBS at 9 p.m. today (Monday) and 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19.
It is directed by Mark Pedri, a master’s degree graduate in communication, and tells the story of Conrad Smith (Morfar), a former professor in the UW Department of Communication and Journalism. Smith has spent nearly a decade trying to locate the exact rock within the Rocky Mountains where Charles Preuss sat in 1842 to sketch the first published image from within the Rocky Mountains.
“We thought Conrad was a great character, very charismatic, and his journey was intriguing to us. Kind of a bit of an obscurity, but the fact that he’s this older person going deep into the mountains, there was an adventure element to it,” Pedri says.
The image that Preuss recorded, combined with John Frémont’s report from the expedition, paved the way for the Great Western Expansion of 1850, including the California Gold Rush, the Oregon Trail and the Mormon migration to Salt Lake City. The film follows Smith, his daughter and granddaughter as they navigate an unexpected turn of events on the final expedition to verify the location where this influential drawing was created to reproduce the image 177 years later.
“Curiosity was my research motivation -- trying to make sense of the disconnect between what I saw in the mountains and the inaccurate guidebook assertions,” Smith says.
The movie was an official selection at the 307 Film Festival and the Breck Film Festival.
For more information about the movie, go to www.burningtorchproductions.com/morfars-view-of-the-winds.html.