On April 5th, the Indiegogo campaign for a new Civil War short film titled Our War will be marching into action, in need of fan support to help subsidize the cost of production. The movie is to be directed and co-written by J.D Mayo, who has extensive work with independent films, as well as Civil War historian and reenactor Steven Hancock, who will be producing the film as well as writing the screenplay. Having known Mr. Hancock for many years, I can attest that his passion and knowledge for the American Civil War will make for an interesting film project, which we can be sure will be as authentic and historically accurate as possible. Pre-production has already been underway, with the filming of a teaser trailer featuring the star of the film Ryan Daniel Thompson, who appeared in two episodes of the hit AMC historical drama Turn: Washington’s Spies.
The projected running time for Our War is set to be around a half hour, but the thematic elements tackled will likely touch home and promote a bit of thinking in viewers. The driving force behind the story is a soldier in the south who chooses to fight for the Union Army, believing in the idea of the United States of America staying together. This would likely land him in hot water with family and friends, reminiscent of the 2013 Civil War film Copperhead, which looked at anti-war northerners and the ire they drew from those who knew them. Hancock relates, “Our War tells an important story often overlooked in the history of the American Civil War: that many southerners chose to leave their homes to fight for the Union, against their own homes, and even their own families.” As is the case in most wars, those who chose to make unpopular decisions are rarely talked about or featured in any media projects. This is ironic because such complexity is not only realistic to the lives we live, but is also quite entertaining. The director Mayo then added, “[This is] a family torn by war, but their traitor son returns who will either break or bond them together at the end”.
That being said, the producers of Our War are going to need some help. We have seen many projects receive successful funding on crowd-source sites such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter over the last few years. The goal here is $10,000, with the campaign going into effect on April 5th. Hancock already has experience with crowd funding for a project of his, when he set out to make the 2014 fan-film Dr. Who: A Dame to Kill, which has since spun off into a mini web-series The Ginger Chronicles. Any money raised will go towards production costs, promotional material, and film festival submissions. With a cast and crew mostly from Virginia and North Carolina, Our War will be filmed on-location at Bennett Place State Historic Site in Durham, NC. Civil War buffs will recognize this as the site where Gen. Joseph E. Johnston surrendered to Gen. William T. Sherman, turning over 89,000 troops and effectively ending the war for good, about a month after Lee’s surrender. Hancock notes how thankful the production staff is for being able to film at such a historic location.
I’ll be reviewing the script in the next couple of days and offering my thoughts, but I must say I am very excited that such a project is underway and I wish the cast and crew the best of luck during filming. Readers of this blog know me and know that I believe there can never be enough Civil War movies, no matter how large or small they may be. I look forward to seeing the progress of this production and when the final film becomes available for viewing. This is certainly an exciting time for all involved.
Check out these screenshots from the trailer: