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World Premiere of Blue Christmas from Max Allen Collins at the Fleur Cinema

World Premiere of New Film by Road to Perdition Creator


Des Moines, Iowa (February 7, 2024) - A new film, written and directed by Iowa native, Max Allan Collins, of Road to Perdition fame, will have its world premiere at the Fleur Cinema & Café in Des Moines on Saturday, February 24.


Blue Christmas was shot in Muscatine in October 2023. Headlining are Cedar Rapids actor Rob Merritt (Dead Air, 2020 Vision) and celebrity performer Alisabeth Von Presley (American Idol, American Song Contest). Appearing as Jake Marley is Chris Causey, who starred in producer Chad Bishop’s The Man in Purple.


Alternately suspenseful and comic, Blue Christmas is a fantasy noir for any season. Bishop, who edited the new film, describes it as “The Maltese Falcon Meets Scrooge.” In Chicago 1942, private eye Richard Stone celebrates at his holiday office party after dodging the draft with a bribe. A disappointment to his loyal secretary Katie and honest young employee Joey Ernest, Stone is literally haunted by his late partner Marley, murdered a year ago on Christmas Eve – a crime Stone did not bother to solve. He will be visited by the ghosts of Christmas past – Bonnie of Bonnie and Clyde; Christmas present – a deceased soldier; and Christmas future – Elvis Presley.


The all-Iowa cast includes performers with impressive track records in independent film and television production, notably Tommy Ratkiewicz-Stierwalt, Dave Juehring, and Scot Gehret. Rene Mauck, Cassidy Ptacek, Keith Porter and Evan Maynard had key roles in the 2023 feature Encore for Murder, also written and directed by Collins, and produced and edited by Bishop. The crew was led by Phillip W. Dingeldein, who enjoyed a long run as Director of Photography on the highly-rated American Pickers TV series, working again with First Camera Assistant Liz Toal.


Collins is an Edgar and Shamus award-winning mystery novelist who lives with his writer wife Barbara in Muscatine; they write the cozy Antiques series together. His graphic novel Road to Perdition (1998) became the Academy Award-winning film starring Tom Hanks; his other comics credits include “Dick Tracy”; “Batman”; “Ms. Tree” and “Wild Dog.” For the first five seasons, he was sole licensing writer for TV’s CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. His novels have appeared on the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists, including Saving Private Ryan, Air Force One, and American Gangster.

Collins has written and directed six Iowa-produced features, including the Lifetime movie Mommy (1996); he scripted The Last Lullaby (2009), based on his innovative Quarry novels, which were also adapted as a 2016 TV series by Cinemax.


Collins, Bishop, Merritt and Von Presley, among other cast and crew members, are expected to be in attendance on the 24th, participating in a Q and A session after the film.


The Fleur Cinema & Café, operated by Des Moines-based Fridley Theatres, is Iowa’s premier destination for art house and independent theatrical content. The cinema re-opened in September after a years-long COVID hiatus. It offers popcorn, soda, specialty baked goods and coffee drinks, and a selection of local beer and wine.


For tickets and additional information on the Blue Christmas event, please visit or

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