Press release

April 15, 2014

Viroqua native brings round barn documentary to Temple Theater

Screening scheduled for Sunday, April 27, at 2:00 p.m.

The Round Barns of Vernon County, fresh from its premiere at the Wisconsin Film Festival, will show at the Temple Theater in downtown Viroqua on Sunday, April 27th at 2:00 p.m. The film and program are expected to run approximately one hour; both are free and open to the public and suitable for all audiences. An informal reception will follow at Main Street Station.

Viroqua native David Macasaet directed and edited the documentary with co-director and cinematographer, Shahin Izadi. “We wanted to convey the beauty of the area and share the stories connected to the round barns,” said Macasaet. “We hope the film gives people a chance to experience the round barns if they can’t see them in person.” Mr. Macasaet will be on hand to answer questions and talk about the making of the film immediately following the screening.

The film builds on the work of the original 1996 publication, The Round Barns of Vernon County: A Circle Tour by Gail Curry Fish, Wava G. Haney, and June Pedretti; and later adapted by Kevin and Pasty Alderson into Barns Without Corners. June Pedretti appears in the film, along with Wisconsin barn expert and historian Jerry Apps. Several Viroqua residents including Angie Cina and Amy Lund share their experiences with round barns. For those not able to attend the screening, a copy of the film will be made available to the Vernon County Historical Society.

The 21-minute documentary highlights the round barns, including their unique connection to Algie Shivers, the African-American builder, who lived near Hillsboro, WI. “The story of the African-American settlers in the Cheyenne Valley is significant in part because it’s not widely known,” said Macasaet. “And we hope that the film will prompt further curiosity and study.” Several Hillsboro area residents were interviewed as part of the film as well as attendees of the Cheyenne Valley Heritage Society Reunion, which included members of Algie Shivers’ family.

Macasaet returned to Wisconsin in 2007 to be closer to his own family, which includes time with the family business, Main Street Station and the Viroqua Public Market. Celebrating its tenth anniversary this spring, the downtown business reflects the family’s creative streak.

Mr. Macasaet graduated from Viroqua High School in 1992. “Growing up in Viroqua had an incredible influence on the film and on me as a person. My start in dramatic arts began with Sherry Getter for sure. Ted Harris gave me my start in video production. I have many life lessons from that time,” he said. “The film presented an opportunity to look more closely at parts of Vernon County that I had not experienced as a young person or hadn’t seen in a long time, and then to make something creative out of the experience. That’s a real gift,” Macasaet said.

For more information about the film visit


Press release

February 28, 2014 

UW alumni bring round barn documentary to Wisconsin Film Festival

A short documentary co-created by UW alumni David Macasaet (B.A.’97, History) and Shahin Izadi (Ph.D.’11, Philosophy) will screen at this year’s Wisconsin Film Festival.

The Round Barns of Vernon County explores the unusual barn structures and their connection to one of the largest and most racially integrated rural African-American settlements in Wisconsin during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Izadi and Macasaet met while at UW-Madison--Izadi while completing his PhD in philosophy and Macasaet while working as an Instructional Technology Consultant for L&S Learning Support Services.

“Our UW-Madison connection certainly influenced the film,” said Macasaet. “We collaborated on various video projects that supported the L&S community and found ourselves at the same film-related events, like documentary filmmaker Errol Morris's distinguished lecture. We both saw the promise of taking on an unconventional local story and sharing the results with our friends, neighbors, and the greater Wisconsin public."

Macasaet is a native of Viroqua, Wis., the county seat of Vernon County, which has the highest concentration of round barns in the world. Macasaet’s childhood home was around the corner from the red round tile barn that is featured prominently in the film. 

Izadi recalls the challenge of directing the film: "A major obstacle was crafting an engaging cinematic experience out of these beautiful, yet essentially static structures. Our approach was to integrate both oral tradition and historical reflection about the origins and social context of the barns with a poetic sensitivity to the beauty of Vernon County's rural landscape. In this way, the barns become a symbol for something larger." Izadi adds, "we hope the film deepens an appreciation for Wisconsin's rural history and invites reflection on issues of race within that history."

Macasaet received his MFA in Media Arts from the University of Montana-Missoula and continues his work in the College of Letters & Science at L&S Learning Support Services. Izadi is currently pursuing his MFA in Film and Media Arts at Temple University in Philadelphia.

The 2014 Wisconsin Film Festival is scheduled for April 3-10. The festival guide will be released March 6th, with tickets on sale Saturday, March 8th. More information about the festival is available at