A documentary chronicling a man's journey to rediscover ancient legends his grandfather found while on leave as a medic in WWII France.
"Historia Venator- Phase One- Filming the Journey"
'Historia Venator' will chronicle Ephraim McCormick's Journey to retrace his grandfather's story-hunting footsteps in France. 'Phase one' is the first of two parts in the production of this documentary.
Ephraim's maternal grandfather, Nicholas B. Jaszewski, was stationed in a hospital in France during WWII. As a 2nd year medical student at Marquette University, he gained extensive knowledge of pathology, chemistry, and blood work. According to his military record, this caused him to be put in charge of the Blood Bank and to assist with autopsies to verify diseases.
However, extended exposure to death caused him a great deal of stress. So, when on leave, he liked to search for legends, ghost stories, and historical curiosities, which had nothing to do with the war. He was curious to see the history of France, to learn what happened before WWII.
When he returned, he would eventually tell these stories to his 14 children.
Then Ephraim discovered that Nick's photo album from his time in France confirmed the locations of the stories, and Ephraim felt an instant kinship with the man he never knew. Nick passed away in November of 1989, when Ephraim was just one month old.
He was then so intrigued and inspired by these stories, which he had only heard from his aunts and uncles, that he became determined to document them.
As a historical documentarian Ephraim researches and then recreates stories in a variety of ways, including impersonations, recitations, and animations. He has plenty of experience, too.
Ephraim's career began after he completed both a Bachelor's degree in Radio/T.V. Production as well as a Bachelors in Middle Eastern History. Then he learned storytelling craft as a ghost tour guide, children's storyteller, voice impersonator, and character actor. He then started his own production company and now produces projects for non-profits, speakers, and historical organizations.
Historia Venator will be the next step in his career. Ephraim plans to go where his grandfather went, to rediscover the stories he found over seven decades ago.
Co-producer Macknzie Laroe is a gifted photographer, artistic director, and coordinator with a passion for photo documentation and adventure. As an avid bicyclist, she also has the stamina and drive to hike if needed, with equipment, down rainy country lanes.
All of these traits have made her uniquely qualified for collaboration on this project.
Her French heritage makes her role especially appropriate. It is a personal journey to discover some of the stories her own ancestors shared with their children.
Once in France, they will explore the main 5 of the 13 towns towns which Nick documented in his photo album. Then they will film Ephraim's rendition of the stories that occurred in those locations.
These stories range from the legend of the creation of Marseilles, to the story of the 900 slaves of Aix (AKA Aquae Sextiae), to the ancient evacuation of the town of Laon.
In 'Phase Two', they plan to film dramatic reenactments of the more curious stories, hire animators to illustrate the more dramatic ones, and edit the whole journey into a feature length documentary.
The documentary will be entered into a myriad of film festivals, including Big Sky, SXSW, IDFA, AFI Silverdocs, and Full Frame, to name only a few.
Beyond that they hope to attract investors for several other projects they have planned.
We'll keep you up to date on all the locations/times of screening. If it gets enough press and funding, we might even be able to take the documentary on tour.
Please pledge today!
Good question, I'm very glad you frequently asked it. While we did research on the legends and fables of France, the consistent era of the most interesting fables was the Roman era of the occupation of Gaul. The story of Aix(AKA Aquiae Sextiae), the Fields of Putrefaction, the establishment of the colony of Marseilles. All of these take place immediately before or during the Roman occupation. These were the majority of famous legends and stories that existed in the towns when Ephraim's grandfather visited them. It seems most fitting that we indicate the era where the most stories originated and then connect them with the era when Ephraim's grandfather found them. Cheers!
We'll be going to about 5 different towns and provinces in France.
For those of you wondering the exact list, your dreams have come true! Also, you have some pretty attainable dreams, so kudos!
We’ll arrive in Paris and explore a few ghost stories there before driving to the rest of the towns in the following order:
2) Mont St. Michel
Then the towns that depend on how much additional funding are the following. The more funding, the more stories we’ll tell!
2) West Malles
11) La Turbie
As we go on, I'll be giving updates on which specific stories we will be exploring at the various towns. Just as an example of the research we've been doing, so you know the preparation that has gone into the project so far. So keep your eyes peeled on the updates section. And thanks!
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