About this project
The Sultana disaster is one of the most horrific events in U.S. history and yet few are aware that it even occurred. A Mississippi steamboat, the Sultana, exploded just north of Memphis, Tennessee in the early morning hours of April 27, 1865 killing over 1,800 souls.
These, one of a kind, incredible works of art were created to honor the lives lost in the tragedy. Mr. Hance and Mr. Champion kindly donated their time and talent to create an almost photo real series of portraits of more than a few of the actual passengers images.The original is available to own. Backers can also purchase framable prints and post cards. The rewards are listed to the right.
The SULTANA was overloaded with over 2,300 Union soldiers, newly released POW’s on their way back home after surviving the horrors of Civil War prison camps. This accident wasn’t only tragic because POW’s died on the way home; it’s not just tragic because greed-driven men squeezed well over 2,000 individuals onto a vessel licensed to carry 367 passengers; the Sultana disaster is tragic because it was covered up and, ultimately, forgotten. Greed, drama, and humanity make the Sultana a story to remember. Please help us remember the Sultana and raise this story from the depths of the Mississippi and into the hearts of people everywhere.
It is our desire to honor the victims of the Sultana by reaching as many people as possible with their story. This production will serve as a beacon of hope to establish the Sultana story in American history books across the nation. Our mission is to assist the Sultana Movement in establishing this event among the great tragedies of The Civil War. These were common men who were tested in battle, suffered in Confederate prison camps and survived, only to die within sight of home. They deserve to be remembered and honored by the nation they served.
We not only need your help funding but we need your help to spread the word. Please pass this campaign along to your friends and family. Encourage them to do the same. We need to get our message out to as many people as possible to bring this story to everyone. Please help us to remember the Sultana!
We intend to distribute this documentary on cable niche channels such as History Channel or National Geographic, on-demand streaming video services, DVD rental companies, direct DVD sales, and on the shelves of museum gift shops throughout the nation. In addition, we plan to place the documentary in high schools across the country. We are excited to bring the story of the Sultana to as many different venues as possible. You can help to make this a reality.
The service men who died in the Sultana disaster were United States Prisoners of War and they deserve to be honored and remembered. Members of the Association of Sultana Descendants and Friends are extremely passionate about telling this amazing story. Monuments, art, museums, music and other inspirational art continue to be produced to commemorate and share this historical event. Help us continue in this effort to bring the story of the Sultana to life.
Sean Astin is a professional motion picture and television actor, best known for his performances in The Goonies, Rudy and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Other credits include: NCIS, Memphis Belle, 24 and Courage Under Fire. A talented voice actor currently starring as Raphael on Nickelodeon's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Sean has also lent his voice talents to Disney's Special Agent Oso, the documentary WWII in HD: The Air War, Animal Planets, Meerkat Manor and the video game Men of Valor. Upcoming projects include Del Toro's The Strain for FX and the feature film Boys of Abu Gharib. In addition to film and television, Vox Populi; Astin's bi-partisian political radio show is now recording Season 2 on TradioV.
Astin graduated with honors from UCLA with a B.A. in History & B.A. in English (American Literature and Culture). He is a Member of the Directors Guild of America, the Screen Actors Guild, and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. He served as a Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army from 1995-2005 and then on The President of the United States Council on Service & Civic Participation.He currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife Christine Louise and daughters Alexandra Louise, Elizabeth Louise, and Isabella (Bella) Louise.
One of the busiest and most knowledgeable producers working in television, Chicago native, Jim Michaels, began his career Producing the NBC series, Midnight Caller. From 1993 to 1996, Michaels Co-Produced the ABC series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, as well as Nick's Game, a one-hour drama pilot for CBS.
His long list of Producing distinguished credits includes Charlie Grace and Escape From Atlantis. He also Produced the CBS series, Turks and Cover Me: Based on the True Life of an FBI Family series for the USA Network. Having established a standard of excellence, networks looked to Michaels, to produce among others The Guardian pilot for CBS, the Odyssey 5 series for Showtime and Dr. Vegas for CBS. From 2005-2007, Jim raised the bar again, producing the Golden Globe-nominated, Chris Rock-inspired series Everybody Hates Chris.
Jim currently serves as Co-Executive Producer for the hit television series, Supernatural, on the CW network. He has been with the series since 2007.
"Mark is a friend, and I've been moved by his passion for this story. For me, documentary filmmaking is about stewardship. I'm proud to help lead a team of professionals who are so dedicated and whose sense of purpose is so clear."
Matthew Egan is the Managing Partner of Image Freedom, a San Antonio based Marketing Consultancy. He is a marketing associate for multiple Kickstarter campaigns and a startup mentor with programs like TechStars and 3 Day Startup. “I believe the Sultana event should be taught on more than a historical level, but an ethics in business level as well. No amount of profit is worth risking lives.”
A native Oklahoman, Mark Marshall began his career in 1978 when he joined Lucasfilm Ltd., serving as production assistant on More American Graffiti, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark, directed by Steven Spielberg. In 1984, he joined Amblin Entertainment as personal assistant to Mr. Spielberg. During that time, Marshall assisted on a varied slate of projects including Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, The Goonies, The Color Purple, Empire of the Sun, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade as well as Spielberg’s television series, Amazing Stories. In 1989, Marshall joined Donner Shuler-Donner Productions as a production representative to producer/director Richard Donner on HBO’s hit series, Tales from the Crypt. During hiatus on that series, Marshall joined producer Jennie Lew Tugend as her assistant on Radio Flyer and Lethal Weapon 3. In 1992, Tugend tapped Marshall as a Producer on the Free Willy trilogy for Warner Bros. Marshall also brought his considerable post-production experience to such films as Assassins, Lightning Jack, Star Kid, Message in a Bottle, Billy Crystal’s 61* for HBO, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen’s big-screen debut, New York Minute. He also served as production manager on the Academy Award-nominated short film, Kangaroo Court, directed by Sean Astin.
Mike Marshall, general partner in River Rock Entertainment, LLC, has over twenty years of experience in the field of video production.In addition to owning his own companies, Mike has worked for three television stations. One station, licensed to a college in northeastern Oklahoma since 1987, continues to serve its viewing area as a full-power, UHF facility.Mike was the station’s first production manager. He's taught video production and other mass communication subjects at two Oklahoma universities. History is more than an avocation for Mike, it’s a true passion. He has produced over 200 hours of educational programming for broadcast and has co-produced a number of documentary projects. The Sultana represents the culmination of a lifetime working to preserve history.
Originally from Philadelphia, Leah Cevoli is most notably known for voicing over 30 characters on Cartoon Network's Robot Chicken, as well as her work on HBO’s Deadwood. She's worked as an actress and producer of film, television, and web, as well as producing/hosting 1000's of live events and charity fundraisers. Leah is a staff writer for MsInTheBiz.com and the founder of "All Shapes and Sizes Welcome", a travelling group of women who speak at numerous conventions and have been interviewed on FOX News, CNN, and various other news outlets.
Leah has a reputation for crowd-funding success and social media magic. To date, Cevoli has managed or co-managed 9 campaigns, raising a total of over $700,000 and has consulted on dozens of other successful campaigns. "As a direct descendant of Governor William Bradford who arrived on the Mayflower, and having grown up in one of this nation's original 13 colonies, history has always played an important part in my life. The story of The Sultana is heartbreaking, and deserves it's rightful place in history. Hopefully, the success of this documentary will open other doors and avenues for the story to continue to be told and remembered."
Jeff Hoopingarner is an award winning multimedia producer/director with over twenty years of experience in video and film production. Jeff served in the United States Air Force as a combat camera videographer. Considered one of the top videographers in the military, he won many awards including 1994 military videographer of the year. He served as an assistant editor on A&E channel documentaries and worked on a variety of industrial film and video productions.
Mark Alan Ray grew up in Enid, Oklahoma. He comes from a family of educators and holds a Bachelor's Degree in History and a Master's of Education with an emphasis in History. Mark has taught Television Production for Northern Oklahoma College and is currently an Audio Visual specialist for the Enid Public Schools.
Mark first became fascinated with the little known stories of the Civil War when he learned of battles fought in Oklahoma that were not taught in school. His passion easily grew to include the virtually unknown tale of the Sultana.
Risks and challenges
Production of SULTANA is ongoing. Some interviews have been completed with many more pending over the coming months. B-Roll must be shot as well. This has been a labor of love for over ten years. The filmmakers remain fully engaged and are committed to completing the film so that we may honor the sacrifice of the Sultana victims. As with any adventure in life, there are risks..
We do not yet have a distribution deal; however, we will begin screenings for distributors once we have a rough cut of the documentary. We do have the necessary connections and support from many in the motion picture and television industry which will help us secure the project's placement in various medial channels..
Some of the rewards, like wristbands, hats, T-shirts and lunches with the producers will be fulfilled well before the film is finished, but tickets to the premiere, DVDs and Blu-Ray discs won't be available until the film is done. As always, we will keep you well informed of our progress.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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