Note: Alaska Humanities Forum produced the Magnetic North series in partnership with Rasmuson Foundation, which has provided more than $550,000 for the series.

By Alaska Humanities Forum

Gov. Bill Sheffield by Kevin Kurka

Anchorage, AK — The premiere screening of a new documentary film featuring former Gov. Bill Sheffield will be shown at the Anchorage Museum this Friday at 6 p.m., followed by a reception with Gov. Sheffield. The event is free and open to the public.

The film, “Magnetic North: Governor Bill Sheffield,” captures the story of the fifth governor of Alaska (1982 to 1986) — from his early career in sales at Sears to his entrepreneurial hotel expansion, followed by public service and leadership roles with the Alaska Railroad and the Port of Anchorage. The film touches on his personal life, the successes and controversies that marked his term in office, and his enduring role as a generous philanthropist.

Magnetic North is a documentary film project produced by Alaska Humanities Forum in partnership with Rasmuson Foundation. The series explores the personality and character of six Alaskans whose actions and ideas have shaped the history, spirit, and values of our state. Collectively, they challenge preconceived notions of the Last Frontier, promote a richer understanding of its unique identity, and speak to our shared experience of life in contemporary Alaska.

Gov. Bill Sheffield by Kevin Kurka

The films are written and directed by Marla Williams, who has led filming projects in more than 100 urban and communities across the state. Her work has appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, ESPN and the Discovery Channel, as well as PBS.

This is the fifth Magnetic North premiere. The sixth premiere, “Magnetic North: Jacob Anaġi Adams, Sr.” is set for Utqiaġvik on May 24 at Barrow High School. Alaska Public Media will show “Magnetic North: Governor Bill Sheffield” on public television in June.

The complete series also includes films on Ketchikan artist Nathan Jackson, the late Kodiak Superior Court Judge Roy Madsen, retired businesswoman and politician Arliss Sturgulewski of Anchorage, and Clem Tillion of Halibut Cove, retired commercial fisherman and nine-term state legislator. Public television plans to air the series in September. Following the broadcast, the films will also be available online at and, by request, on thumb drive for schools, museums, and other cultural organizations statewide. Please contact Jann Mylet, director of development and communications at Alaska Humanities Forum, at or (907) 272-5302 if you have questions or requests for distribution.


About the Alaska Humanities Forum
The mission of the Alaska Humanities Forum is to connect Alaskans through stories, ideas, and experiences that positively change lives and empower communities. The forum’s vision is a culturally rich, economically vibrant, and equitable Alaska where people are engaged, informed, and connected.

About the Foundation
Rasmuson Foundation was created in May 1955 by Jenny Rasmuson to honor her late husband, E.A. Rasmuson. Through grantmaking and initiatives, the Foundation aims to promote a better life for all Alaskans.