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Moviemakers to keep promise of battlefield preservation

January 02, 2002

Moviemakers to keep promise of battlefield preservation



By LAURA ERNDE
laurae@herald-mail.com


Now that filming of the movie "Gods and Generals" has ended, the film company will turn its attention to fulfilling a promise to the 3,000 re-enactors who volunteered their services.

Filmmakers have established a nonprofit foundation to buy a Civil War battlefield and protect it from development, said Dennis Frye, a local historian who was an associate producer for the movie.

The movie company has said it would donate up to $1 million to the foundation. An exact amount has not been determined, although Director Ronald Maxwell has committed to giving at least $500,000.

A specific battlefield hasn't been named, but it probably will be in Virginia, Frye said.

Not only is Virginia a central location for many of the volunteers, but it also has more endangered battlefield land available, he said.

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Frye has been named to an interim board of directors that is helping to set up the foundation, but said he will step down in April when a permanent board is in place.

Re-enacting organizations that supported the movie are being asked to nominate prospective board members by Jan. 31. They are looking for people with experience in accounting, banking, real estate and business management, Frye said.

Re-enactors saved the movie company millions of dollars by volunteering their time, their authentic-looking uniforms and their expertise, he said.

"They donated thousands of man-hours toward the project. That should be worth a million dollars," Frye said.

Most of the movie was filmed in Washington County. Shooting locations included the 500-acre Flook farm near Keedysville, the former Lowe's store on Wesel Boulevard and the historic Plumb Grove mansion in Clear Spring.

Film crews also worked in downtown Harpers Ferry, W.Va., and at the Apollo Civic Theatre in Martinsburg, W.Va.

Ted Turner Pictures spent $54 million on the production.

Editing will take place at the movie company's headquarters in Williamsport, which has been operating with a skeleton staff since filming wrapped up in mid-December.

The movie is scheduled for release in theaters in November 2002.

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