Film screening of Sons and Daughters of Thunder

News | November 4, 2021

Take part in the discussion of local film Sons and Daughters of Thunder which centers on the events that led to the beginning of the end of slavery in America and inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe to write her incendiary book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

On Sunday, Nov. 7 from 10:15-11 a.m., St. Paul adult learning will feature a discussion on Sons and Daughters of Thunder, a docudrama about the 1834 Lane Debates in Cincinnati, Ohio which sparked a controversial conversation about the abolition of slavery. The debates, highly influenced by abolitionist and Lane Seminary student Theodore Weld, took place at the 19th century Lane Theological Seminary and planted a seed in the mind of young writer Harriet Beecher (Stowe) who would later combine her experiences in Cincinnati and Kentucky to write the worldwide phenomenon Uncle Tom’s Cabin. This forgotten true story from award-winning filmmakers Kelly and Tammy Rundle was a prelude to America’s Civil War.

Join the filmmakers on Nov. 7 for a preview of clips from the film or attend the full screening of Sons and Daughters of Thunder on Tuesday, Nov. 9 from 7-9 p.m. in the Chapel. Following the screening will be a discussion with the filmmakers and cast members about the key players of this story and why this story should be told.

“The Lane Debates were really the beginning of Harriet’s awareness about what was going on in terms of slavery. You really see this story through Harriet’s eyes,” said producer Tammy Rundle. “She’s an observer and not participating much because that’s the way Harriet was. And she could not have written Uncle Tom’s Cabin without these formative years in Cincinnati. Everything that took place, she witnessed, she experienced.”

“There is no Uncle Tom’s Cabin without Cincinnati, without the Lane Debates,” added director/editor Kelly Rundle. “It was life-altering. It was history-altering, that book.”

Teaching pastor Peter A. Pettit was drawn to the relevance of this story that happened nearly 200 years earlier.

“This film discussion is so worthwhile,” said Peter A. Pettit. “It’s so easy to get tired of wrestling with these big issues but what (Theodore) Weld helped the seminary to realize is that the issues are daily life for large communities of people who don’t have the opportunity to turn off thinking about these things. That invites, if not compels us, to pay attention.”

Based on the play by Earlene Hawley and Curtis Heeter, Sons and Daughters of Thunder features multiple St. Paul members including Tom Taylor as Theodore Weld, Jessica Taylor as Harriet Beecher (Stowe), Dave Juerhing as Lane Seminary Trustee, with soundtrack by Bill Campbell.

See a trailer for Sons and Daughters of Thunder at


Fourth Wall Films was formed in Kansas City, Miss. by husband and wife filmmakers Kelly and Tammy Rundle. From 1989-2007, The Rundles and Fourth Wall films called Los Angeles, Cali. home. But today the Emmy®-award-winning documentary filmmakers are located here in the Quad Cities.

As a team, Kelly and Tammy have been producing, directing, writing, and editing documentaries and other media projects for more than 20 years. Kelly and Tammy are the recipients of numerous humanities awards, Telly awards, film festival awards, and film festival Official Selections. Other documentaries by Fourth Wall Films include Villisca: Living with a Mystery, Lost Nation, Country School: One Room, Movie Star: The Secret Lives of Jean Seberg, River to River: Iowa’s Forgotten Highway 6, and Hero Street. Sons and Daughters of Thunder is the first docudrama by Fourth Wall Films.


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