A project from
Film Farm Iowa
In the rural, rough, 1920s Midwest
a community of farmers face Tea Meyer,
a humble peddler who brings a little bit of heartwarming joy and happiness to their hard-working yet mundane lives.
Georg Harm Meyer
1891 - 1928
Dr. Oscar Bryan Harriman, a prominent physican and community leader in Hampton, built this house on the west edge of Hampton in ~1881. The property was purchased by the Nielsen Family in 1920. The Harriman House was added to the National Register of Historic Places in August 1987. Following the death of owner Nielsine Nielsen in 2001, the house, the surrounding 20 acres, and considerable personal family property was given to the Franklin County Historical Society.
Harriman Nielsen Historic Farm
Highway 3 West, Hampton, IA, United States, Iowa
Set in the year 1920,
Georg Harm Meyer, better known as “Tea Meyer”, a local store owner, arrives with his Model-T Ford truck to peddle weekly goods at the homestead of the Heine Olthoff family. This time he brings along something truly magnificent than none have ever seen before.
This special occasion draws all of the family members from their working locations in the barn and field to the house to see and hear the wondrous device.
All are happy to have an interruption from the daily hard work and boredom on the farm and welcome Tea Meyer.
This time besides the daily goods, Tea Meyer has a special Item, an Edison phonograph with cylinder records for sale.
With rapid party-line phone calls, the neighbors get invited to experience this new sensation.
We have many stories from 1880 through 1940 to tell which we learned from our ancestors and picked this one from the 1920s as a first pitch.
Often the historical importance of the "small things" in life is overlooked in movies.
Tea Meyer depicts in a meaningful way, the simple joy Edison’s invention of the phonograph brought to life in the rural countryside.
The act of listening to a phonograph was not without complications, especially in 1920.
We pride ourselves on creating a historically accurate picture.
Tea Meyer was created with a specific vision in mind.
Its perspective of rural country life is magnified and character-driven.
Rather than sweeping themes, the focus is on details. Our film-making journey began when our Producer Burdette Walters started to tell us stories from his ancestors.
Jörg Rochlitzer and
Bernd Wittneben started writing these tales down and developing the script.
They combined these stories with research into the mindsets, attitudes, and experiences of the people who grew up in rural Iowa.
Rochlitzer and Wittneben went on to create a script inspired by actual events that happened in and around our little town of Wellsburg, Iowa.
original Coffee Grinder
used in 1920
Bernd Wittneben as Tea Meyer (George Meyer)
Bernd was born and raised in Braunschweig, Germany,
he became a U.S. citizen in 2021, made Wellsburg, IA his home.
Bernd also served as Executive Producer, German Language Advisor, and actor on the award-winning feature film Reveille (2023), as well as an actor in Little Johnny Jewel, It's About Time, Fox Valley Road to Destiny,
and several other films.
Bernd won several awards as best actor.
Fun Fact: Bernd has an extensive collection of cast iron match holders, coffee grinders, and street pianos.
Bernd served in the German Border Patrol/Special Forces and has a Master’s Degree in Water Landscaping.
Bernd was Basketball Referee with the highest German License.
Bernd's IMDB Profile:Bernd Wittneben
Burdette E. Walters as Opa Heine Olthoff
Burdette was born and grew up in rural Wellsburg, IA.
Burdette served as a producer on several projects from Film Farm Iowa,
including the award-winning production Reveille (2023).
His memories of stories from the past are the basis for the
production of Tea Meyer.
Burdette has one of the largest phonograph collections in the USA.
Also, Burdette is known as the town historian and founding member of the Wellsburg Historical Society.
He owns the "Corner House Museum" built by Christoph Neessen, 1916 to 1918, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings.
The project Tea Meyer has a special meaning to him.
Jörg G. Rochlitzer as neighbor, Oscar Wendler
Jörg is a Social Sciences Professor at Ellsworth Community College.
He is an award-winning advisor for the college’s Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society as well as an award-winning producer for the film, Reveille (2023).
Jörg has also established award-winning student exchange programs between Germany and the U.S. Jörg was born in East Germany and experienced the fall of the wall and the collapse of communist East Germany, which gives him a unique perspective of telling stories.
An expert in the German language and its dialects, he enjoys preparing actors for their roles.
Fun fact: As an expert in silent-film-era movie technology,
and Jörg has advised major film studios on vintage movie making.
Jörg's IMDB profile: Jörg Rochlitzer
Cheyenne Goode as neighbor, Anna Wendler
Cheyenne is an Iowa born-and-raised, award winning actress,
most known for her roles in Little Johnny Jewel (2022)
and When Jack Came Back (2022).
A graduate of Grand View University - she’s been involved with acting and modeling for over 16 years.
Fun Fact: She played in her high school’s bluegrass band.
Cheyenne's IMDB Profile: Cheyenne Goode
Matt Ubben as Papa Louis Olthoff
Mild mannered banker by day,
village pillaging barbarian at renaissance fairs on the weekend.
Matt enjoys spending time outdoors with his big
(not in numbers but in height) family and many pets.
He enjoys playing Skyrim, lifting weights, annoying his wife by flexing,
and is sure our tallest cast member.
Lisa R. Ubben as Mama Mary Olthoff
Lisa fell in love with theater in high-school
and has been fascinated with every aspect of it since.
At UNI she studied set design, costume design, acting, and dabbled in art history.
For the past eight years she has been in several IFCT productions,
most recently playing Myra, the lead role in A Bad Year for Tomatoes.
To pay the bills Lisa is the Life Enrichment Coordinator for her local Nursing Facility .
Being a crafty woman she can use her jigsaw as easily as her glue gun. Teasing her costar and real life husband Matt about everything and anything is a great pastime of her as well as spending quality time with her children.
Johnathan Vanlangen as Ben(Benjamin)Olthoff
Jonathan was born and raised in Iowa.
He spent most of his life on the farm and continues to live in his hometown of Iowa Falls.
In 2018, Johnathan went on a trip to Germany with Jorg to sign an agreement between the Bachelors Academy of Dresden and the Ellsworth Community College here in Iowa, for a student exchange program.
Since then, Jonathan has been working as a leader at his local Kwik Star serving his community with a smile.
Listening to music, learning people’s stories, and going on adventures are some of Johnathan’s favorite pastime.
Fun Fact: Johnathan obtained an interest in his earlier years for Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House on the Prairie” after his mother told him about how he and his mom were related to the author.
Jace A. Dempster as Eilert Olthoff
Jace is looking forward to his first-ever role in a movie.
He is a student at the local Ackley-Geneva-Wellsburg-Steamboat-Rock (AGWSR) community school.
Fun Fact: ..........
Heather Gordon as Trientje Asche
She works as Food Inspector for the State of Iowa.
Heather is Jason Gordan's wife and mother to Connor Gordan.
She is interested in fiber crafts, including spinning,
knitting and crochet.
Heather has a background in music and theater and performs locally on occasion. Jason and Heather produce their own clothing that is period correct to fit their needs.
Jason Gordon as August Asche
Jason Gordon started reenacting US Civil War in 1998.
Met his wife Heather in 2013, introduced her to the hobby and were married at the Little Brown Church in Nashua, Iowa at a reenactment in full 1860s period costume.
In 2014, their son Connor was born and went to his first reenactment by the time he was 3 months old. Jason is very interested in 19th century tools and technology and has an extensive collection of 19th century tools.
Connor Gordon as Jacob Asche
Connor is a high energy, outgoing and gregarious 9-year-old that loves to act.
He went to his first reenactment by the time he was 3 months old.
He is a student at the local Ackley-Geneva-Wellsburg-Steamboat-Rock (AGWSR) community school.
James Hammann as Elmar Pfefferling
James is a native of Sidney, Ohio, and holds degrees in music performance and church music from Ohio Wesleyan University and The University of Michigan.
He was a faculty member in the music department at the University of New Orleans, has performed organ concerts throughout the United States, and in Germany, and Italy.
James was conductor of the Little Orchestra Society of Toledo, the Allen Park Symphony, and the New Orleans Civic Symphony.
He has held church music positions in Ohio, Michigan, Louisiana, and Iowa.
James has had a lifelong interest in antique cars, beginning when he accompanied his father on a field trip to the Henry Ford Museum in 1953.
Currently he owns two Model T Fords, and a Sears Auto-buggy, all of which he drives frequently, weather permitting.
He lives in an historic Lustron Home which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places,
owns a refurbished and repurposed downtown building in Iowa Falls,
and a former church building in Bradford, Iowa, which is becoming the Bradford Music Hall, a venue for various concerts.
James composed the Theme song and music for Tea Meyer.