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  • A documentary feature about a heartland town with a Witch School.
  • Premiered at the 2008 New York Underground Film Festival.
  • Details available via Synydyne Website (link)
  • Directed by Thomas Bender.


Hoopeston, Illinois was founded by Thomas Hoopes in 1871. Originally a small farming community, the town grew into a canning powerhouse by the 1950s. It became known as the "Sweet Corn Capital of the World."

In the nineties, Hoopeston's industry collapsed in the wake of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Today Hoopeston has vast unemployment and some of the cheapest real estate in America. The mayor has offered Hoopeston's tallest building free to any business that can bring jobs to town.

Because buildings are so cheap in Hoopeston, a Witch School moved there from Chicago in 2003. The directors of the school faced stiff opposition from religious conservatives (Hoopeston has over a dozen churches—its other nickname is "The Holy City"). But the Witch School is now a fixture in Hoopeston, one that forces the town to ask whether its future lies in traditional industry or internet wand sales.

Hoopeston tells the story of the former Sweet Corn Capital through the lives of its residents. A laborer struggles to find work, a young entrepreneur buys the only motel in town, the police chief battles a drug epidemic, and the Correllian Chancellor lays plans for a vast Crystal Web.



  • Director: Thomas Bender
  • Producers: Jake Bakkila, Thomas Bender
  • Composer: Todd Mazierski
  • Cinematographer: Thomas Bender
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