America’s greatest battle as you have never seen it before: 'The Gettysburg Story' on public television.
Update: March 27, 2013: We've reached past our stretch goal of $50,000, earned a $5,000 matching grant which is on its way to public television, and strive onward to make The Gettysburg Story the best it can be. Please join us.
Update: March 24, 2013
DONATE NOW and your pledge is DOUBLED!
Wow! Our Gettysburg Story Kickstarter campaign has passed $46,000! We are striving to reach our Stretch Goals. We just found out that a backer has offered a very generous incentive in honor of my dad, historian Gabor Boritt. EVERY SINGLE DOLLAR donated to our campaign, will be MATCHED up to $5,000. This means dollars contributed in these final critical days will go twice as far! If we can raise $5,000 it will double to $10,000! Please tell your friends: DONATE NOW and your pledge is DOUBLED!
Update March 10, 2013:
Less than 17 hours after sending out our first Gettysburg Story group email our backers have taken us to our initial minimum goal and beyond. Every dollar is important. Just as important is building a passionate, engaged audience excited for The Gettysburg Story. Together we are well on our way. Please join us!
Now we want to keep the momentum going and keep spreading the word. In the first week we raised $25,000. Now we introduce our....
If we raise a total of:
$50,000 - We will increase the depth and detail of the geo-locational maps showing troop movements during the battle. We will also be able to significantly expand publicity for The Gettysburg Story launch and release a Blu-Ray disc version of the film allowing backers the choice of a DVD or Blu-Ray.
$75,000 - We will be able to expand publicity for The Gettysburg Story nationally in partnership with Public Television, investing in many more public screenings and other distribution opportunities across the country.
$100,000+ - We will do all of the above expanding publicity and marketing, improving the maps, launching the Blu-Ray disk, partnering with Public Television to grow the audience, invest in many more public screenings and distribution opportunities and reach out to schools to get The Gettysburg Story to the next generation.
Now let’s go. Please share with all who may want to join us!
The Gettysburg Story
July 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. This three-day battle changed the course of American history. In 1863 George Meade's Union army defeated Robert E. Lee's Confederate army in the bloodiest battle in American history. Four months later Abraham Lincoln dedicated the National Cemetery by delivering his Gettysburg Address calling for "a new birth of freedom."
'The Gettysburg Story' dramatically tells the history of the greatest battle fought in the Western Hemisphere. The stories of characters who experience the battle come alive through dynamic, innovative imagery that captures the historic battleground as you have never seen it before.
Over the last 150 years, the Battle of Gettysburg has become the stuff of legend, told and retold using contemporary technologies of each generation: from glass plate negatives to woodcut prints, black and white silent films, bestselling novels and TV miniseries.
Now, using cutting edge technologies – including high definition radio control aerial drone cinematography, motion control time-lapse footage, dynamic digital geolocation graphic maps, and more – we are bringing the story of Gettysburg alive for the latest generation.
This film captures Gettysburg – a unique, timeless American place – in a new way. Through years of preparation and close cooperation with the National Park Service, we have been granted unprecedented access to the 6,000-acre battlefield. And the latest imaging and editing technologies allow the presentation and reinterpretation of the timeless Civil War narrative, capturing the iconic landscape of the town and battlefield, for a new generation of viewers.
Narrator: Stephen Lang
Acclaimed actor Stephen Lang who is best known as Colonel Quaritch in James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ narrates the film. Civil War buffs know "SLang" for his roles as General Pickett in 'Gettysburg' and as Stonewall Jackson in 'Gods and Generals.'
To tell this story we are using an array of innovative technology including radio-controlled helicopters equipped with electronic gyro stabilization and mounted with high definition cameras. We worked with West Coast-based FreeFly Cinema, a pioneer in this rapidly evolving field, and Pennsylvania based Flying Media. We captured the battlefield in stunning clarity from never before seen vantage points. The high-resolution imagery captures battle sites from 400 feet in the air to inches above the ground. Aerial drones allowed us to follow the flow of battle over the exact ground men fought and died on 150 years ago.
We also shot gyro-stabilized footage with a full size Bell JetRanger helicopter and with a 5K Red Epic digital camera to capture the storied landscape in rich colors and unparalleled resolution.
Using technology at the vanguard of the industry for motion control time-lapse cinematography we are capturing the landscape in a new and dramatic fashion. To do this we shoot with state of the art full sensor DSLRs. We are also working with companies like Dynamic Perception and cinematographers that are spearheading this new art form, including Cameron Michael, Shawn Reeder and Jay Burlage. In fact, one of the very unique aspects of this project is that it marks the first time the National Park Service has permitted a film crew to shoot on the battlefield at night. The amazing low light capabilities of the latest cameras allow us to capture the ethereal beauty of the battlefield as billions of stars pass overheard. We are producing imagery, never seen before, from the soldiers’ perspective that transfixes the viewer.
Below is an example of an astro time-lapse shot of the 4th New York Independent Battery monument at Devil's Den.
Time-lapse: Shawn Reeder with Canon 5DMiii, Canon EF14mm f2.8L.
What do we need the funds for?
Our goal is to have the film broadcast for the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg in July 2013, which is less than 5 months away. While Maryland Public Television (mpt) has agreed to distribute the film nationally, we need to raise funds to complete it. In 2012, we secured $150,000 which enabled us to finish principal photography. We shot for over a year on the battlefield and have dozens of hours of footage which we are now editing. Your contributions will also fund precise animated digital maps using geo-locational technology that will reveal troop movements during the battle over time and geography.
Now your contributions will help us take all the footage that we've shot: time-lapse, aerials, create maps, record and mix the music, and combine everything to get the finished film out to you, the audience.
We really want you to be a part of this project and to that end we have created some amazing rewards for all levels of contribution. Please check out our rewards and together we can make 'The Gettysburg Story' a reality and have it broadcast on public television in 2013, the 150th anniversary of the battle.
The History of the Battle
In June 1863 the United States and its beleaguered President Abraham Lincoln are being torn apart by Civil War between North and South. Robert E. Lee's seemingly invincible Confederate army is ready to win the war by crushing the Union army in Northern territory. Lee's men advance into Pennsylvania. On June 28 Lincoln names George Meade his new Commanding General. Three days later Meade will lead his men into the greatest battle ever fought in North America.
The battle begins on July 1 as both sides race to the crossroads town of Gettysburg. The Rebels gain the advantage and the Union forces retreat in panic. It appears Lee will gain the decisive victory he desires on Northern soil. Most of Gettysburg's civilians hide in their cellars but Jennie Wade offers water and bread to Unions. African-Americans flee the oncoming Confederate army. Union General Hancock arrives and rallies Union men on Cemetery Hill. Then, despite protests from his best general, James Longstreet, Lee makes plans to attack the Union position.
On the second day of battle Confederates attack the Union flanks. The Rebels take Devils Den, the Peach Orchard and charge onward. Fierce fighting by Joshua Chamberlain's 20th Maine Regiment and others barely holds the high ground of Little Round Top. A young private named Isaac Taylor with his First Minnesota regiment, outnumbered 5 to 1, charges into advancing Confederates hoping to stall the massive force and allow Union reinforcements to save their position. Soon Rebels attack the opposite end of the Union line, crucial positions on Culps and Cemetery Hills. The foresight of 62 year old General George Greene to build entrenchments allows 1,500 Union men to hold off 5,000 Confederate soldiers as fighting rages into the night. The Union barely hold their ground and Lee believes one more attack will force them to retreat. Meade's generals, their men battered, decide to stand their ground.
On the third day, following the largest cannon bombardment in American history, 13,000 Confederate soldiers march across open fields to charge upon the Union center: Pickett's Charge. Under constant fire, only 250 of them will make it across to Bloody Angle. At the High Water Mark Rebel General Lewis Armistead falls, yards from his best friend, the Union General Hancock. The Union repulses the great charge and win the battle.
Stephen Lang narating an excerpt from Pickett's charge
Lincoln's Gettysburg Address
In the days that follow the battle Lee's crippled army escapes back to Virginia, prolonging the war. Now nearly 10,000 rotting bodies lie on the fields, in what is the greatest manmade disaster in American history. Four months after the battle, Abraham Lincoln, standing over fresh graves in Gettysburg, explains to the nation why the brutal war must go on. In his Gettysburg Address Lincoln redefines American democracy expanding freedom.
Jake Boritt - Writer/Producer/Director/Camera: Raised on a Civil War farm in Gettysburg, his films include 'Adams County USA' (2002), 'Budapest to Gettysburg' (2007) and '759: Boys Scouts of Harlem'(2010). He wrote and produced 'The Gettysburg Story: Battlefield Auto Tour," a bestseller.
Stephen Lang - Narrator: An actor of rare transformative power, "SLang" is "Stonewall" Jackson in 'Gods and Generals,' George Pickett in 'Gettysburg,' Ike Clanton in 'Tombstone,' Nathaniel Taylor in 'Terra Nova,' and Colonel Miles Quaritch in 'Avatar' the biggest film of all time. His Broadway credits include 'Beyond Glory,' 'A Few Good Men,' 'Death of Salesman' and many others.
Andrew Mambo - Co-Producer: After beginning his career with the BBC and nearly a decade in Africa working in development for the United Nations, Mambo returned to production working for WNYC and "The Gettysburg Story."
Ira Meistrich - Editor: has worked in documentary film for more than forty years. His work has aired on all three major networks, as well as PBS, Discovery, and A&E, among others. His work has received one Emmy Award and five Emmy nominations.
Ravi Kittappa - Composer: has written works for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, and orchestra, as well as electronic works. He is currently a Ph.D fellow in music composition at University of California, Berkeley.
Gabor Boritt - Historical Consultant: is a leading expert on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. Founder of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College, recipient of the National Humanities Medal, he helped create the Gilder-Lehrman Institute and the $50,000 Lincoln Prize. He has published 18 books and given battlefield tours to luminaries including the President of the United States. He is the father and a close friend of the filmmaker.
FreeFly Cinema: FreeFly Cinema (Tab Firchau and Hugh Bell) specializes in low altitude aerial filming from remote helicopters. Freefly's work includes feature films, action sports, commercial campaigns, as well as extensive work for National Geographic. Freefly combines highly experienced pilots, the latest film and video equipment, and cutting edge stabilization technology to ensure smooth footage and accurate flight patterns.
Cameron Michael: Creator of "The Manhattan Project" and many soon to come emotionally evoking pieces of mixed multimedia. A professional commercia/fashion photographer, DP, advanced motion control Time-lapse shooter.
Jay Burlage: An architect turned HDR and time-lapse filmmaker and innovator. An accomplished HDR photographer and filmmaker he and his partner Chris Church are the brains behind Dynamic Perception, a leader in motion-control time-lapse cinematography.
Shawn Reeder: A Yosemite, CA based destination Photographer, Timelapse Cinematographer, & Filmmaker who loves creating beautiful, natural, intense, compelling images, timelapse, & video.
Flying Media: Lancaster, PA based company specializes in Aerial Photography, and Aerial Videography.
Jared Frederick: is a lifelong student of history, having operated his own small publishing business and serving as a seasonal ranger with the National Park Service. He is currently an instructor of History at Penn State Altoona.
Mike Plunkett: is a recent graduate of Gettysburg College and is currently working on a novel about collective mis-memory set during the American Civil War.
Christopher Woll: Aspiring film composer out of Brooklyn, NY and recent graduate of the Sonic Arts Center who enjoys pushing the limit of sound design and score, his work can be seen this summer as a part of the Hans Richter: Encounters at LACMA in Los Angeles and also Le Centre Pompidou in Paris.
Jared Leon: is class of 2014 at Gettysburg College where he is majoring in history.
Maryland Public Television, which is commonly known by its familiar name "MPT", is a public television network that compromises six television stations that broadcasts throughout the entire state of Maryland as well as into the District of Columbia and parts of Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. MPT is the only state-wide broadcaster in Maryland. MPT is a member of the Public Broadcasting Service.
Preview Trailer: Edit by Jake Boritt and Andrew Mambo; Cinematography by FreeFly Cinema, Jake Boritt, Andrew Mambo, Cameron Michael, Shawn Reeder. Archival images Library of Congress; Music by Ravi Kittappa and Avatar: Music from the Motion Picture ©2010. Filmed in Gettysburg, PA 2012.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Our greatest challenge with this project, or any project about Gettysburg 150 years after the battle and Lincoln's speech, is creating something fresh. Now, on the 150th anniversary of the battle, the story is told for our time, using cutting-edge story-telling technologies. We will create for the viewer a new lens through which to watch the battle story unfold in clear and dramatic terms. Our goal for The Gettysburg Story is to capture a unique, timeless American place - a story we all should know - as it's never been seen before.
We plan to ship DVD rewards to our backers in June, 2013.