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Filmmaker plans 'major' statement about movie

May 31, 1999|By BRYN MICKLE

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - After more than a year in delays to secure financing and make distribution deals, filmmaker Ronald F. Maxwell said he is within weeks of making a major announcement on the local filming of the movie, "Gods and Generals."

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"It should make everyone very happy," Maxwell said about the announcement, following his poetry reading Sunday night at Shepherd College.

Maxwell would not elaborate on specifics of the announcement but said it would include detailed time lines on when filming will begin in Washington County.

Maxwell said he delivered a first-draft script for "Gods and Generals" to the City of Hagerstown and the Washington County Commission at the end of March.

The script is "under lock and key," he said.

The city and the county have guaranteed a $300,000 loan to Maxwell's company, Antietam Filmworks, for production of the prequel to Maxwell's 1993 film "Gettysburg."

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The county has guaranteed $250,000 of that amount and the city has guaranteed $50,000.

Maxwell said he has been doing historical research and scouting potential film locations, but most of his time has been spent trying to secure financing and distribution deals for "Gods and Generals."

"The lion's share of it has been wheeling and dealing," Maxwell said.

The film will be based on a novel by Jeff Shaara, the son of the late Michael Shaara, who wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "The Killer Angels," which became the basis of "Gettysburg."

"Gods and Generals" follows Confederate Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson through the early years of the Civil War and shows how civilians dealt with the conflict.

Maxwell said he plans to film Jeff Shaara's novel, "Last Full Measure," as the final film in a Civil War trilogy.

Maxwell said he has also been busy doing pre-production work on his film, "Joan of Arc," but the project has been pushed back because of competing projects on the saint's life.

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