DIXON – A documentary fim that was 5 years in the making made its debut Wednesday.
"All The Queen's Horses," which chronicles the theft from the city of $53.7 million by former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell, premiered at the Run & Shoot Filmworks Martha's Vineyard African American Film Festival. A trailer of the movie has now been released.
Crundwell is serving a term of 19 years, 7 months in a federal prison in Minnesota.
The 71-minute film was directed by Kelly Richmond Pope, an accounting professor at DePaul University. She interviews white-collar felons, fraud victims and whistleblowers and uses those stories as teaching modules in her classes.
When Crundwell’s embezzlement scheme was added to the list of historic government corruption in Illinois in 2012, Pope started developing the documentary through the Diverse Voices and Docs fellowship program with Chicago-based Kartemquin Films.
"We want the viewer to understand how beautiful Dixon is as a city and start to think about if it can happen here, it can happen any and everywhere," Pope said during a visit to the Sauk Valley in 2016.
Pope and her team have compiled more than 30 interviews with local residents, forensic accountants, equestrians, attorneys and government officials, including the late former Mayor Jim Burke and Mayor Li Arellano Jr.
She approached the documentary as more of a long-term project to demonstrate how Dixon has recovered from the fraud and transitioned to a new form of government.
"It's been a long journey, and there have been so many changes to the town," she said. "The story needed to play out to be completed."