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Duluth filmmakers document life

Documentary filmmakers David Cowardin, left, and Joe Olivieri. (Photo by Esther Piszczek)

Experience changes perspective in unexpected ways. Such is the case with documentary filmmakers David Cowardin and Joe Olivieri.

In January 2012, Cowardin and Olivieri, both University of Minnesota Duluth graduates, drove to Alabama to document the "culture of cruelty" in the South. What they discovered, however, were compassionate citizens risking their lives daily to help save dozens of animals subjected to abuse, neglect and illegal dog fighting. The result of their photojournalistic journey is documented in their film "Roots of Rescue," which premiered at the Minnesota Underground Film Festival in 2013.

Feeling that the documentary told only part of the story, Cowardin detailed their experience in his book, "Down South Justice: Animal Rescue in the Deep South" which is available locally at The Bookstore at Fitger's and online at

Cowardin, one of Duluth News Tribune's "20 under 40" in 2015, cofounded Lola Visuals with Olivieri in 2012. Lola Visuals is named for Olivieri's former 1984 Westfalia van that he lived in "while finding his creative spirit." The film company specializes in wedding videography, photography, documentaries and commercial media.

I knew none of this when I contacted them about creating a short film, to document the 1977 Krakauer studio upright piano I'd painted white and covered in black fine-line patterns. My sole goal was to preserve the artwork, assuming that once the piano was sold, very few people would have the opportunity to view it.

Between November 2015 and February 2016, Cowardin and Olivieri filmed a total of seven hours on three days to create the 17-minute documentary, "Life & Art Entangled," which premiered at the Duluth Superior Film Festival in June. A public screening will take place 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 1 at Teatro Zuccone, 222 E. Superior St., followed by a short Q & A session with Cowardin and Olivieri and a reception in the Zeitgeist Atrium featuring music by jazz pianist Peter Brown. The event is free and open to the public.

Lola Visuals' documentary Roots of Rescue is available for purchase at or via download at

August art events

Tim White. "In and Out of Context." Artist talk Tuesday, Aug. 2, 5-6 p.m. Duluth Art Institute's John Steffl Gallery, 506 W. Michigan St. Exhibit through Sept. 2.

Jamie Harper, "Salvaged Medium." Latex house paint on doors with north woods themes.Thursday, Aug. 4, 8 p.m. Pizza Luce, 11 E. Superior St. Music at 9 p.m. with $5 cover: Black River Revue, Feeding Leroy and Charlie Parr. Show runs through August.

"The Stories Behind the Story" with Vance Gellert, Iron Range photographer. Thursday, Aug. 11, 6-7:30 p.m. Tweed Museum of Art, University of Minnesota Duluth.

A.J. Atwater. Online show and sale for Duluth artist Aug. 12-21.

Nice Girls of the North 2nd Saturday Marketplace. Saturday, Aug. 13, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Lakeside Lester Park Community Center, 106 N. 54th Ave. E.

Art in Bayfront Park Fair. Aug. 18-21.

D.R. Martin: Duluth Street Photographer. Through Aug. 17 at Red Herring Lounge, 208 E 1st St.

Jamie Burwell. Through August. Beaner's Central, 324 N. Central Ave.

Superior High School Youth Art Show. Through August. Red Mug, 916 Hammond Ave., Superior.

Arna Rennan, plein aire painter. Through August. Zeitgeist Arts Cafe, 222 E. Superior St.

Plein Air Duluth: Paint du Nord. Through Sept. 9. Duluth Art Institute, 506 W. Michigan St.