AUGUSTA | Take two graduate students in public history, add a pinch of local U.S. Civil War history and a dash of incentive, and the beginnings of a full-length documentary was formed.
Steve Oldfield and Sean Thomas now have a goal to make that documentary, "Hurrah for Kentucky: The Fierce, Forgotten Fight for Augusta" come to life.
Using a philanthropic internet program called Kickstarter, Oldfield and Thomas hope to raise at least $10,000 for Instant Access Tours to complete a documentary on The Battle of Augusta.
Thomas created the concept for Instant Access Tours as part of his Capstone Project for the master's of public history degree from Northern Kentucky University. He directed a documentary on Speers Hospital and he is overseeing a long-term project on the Underground Railroad in New Richmond, Ohio, and surrounding communities.
“During History Day at Northern Kentucky University a year ago I heard Bill Baker speak about the Battle of Augusta project and told him we had just completed the New Richmond project,” Oldfield said. “We suggested we may be able to do the same for Augusta and he said, 'Great.'”
Baker is a historian and was a member of the committee tasked with carrying out the Battle of Augusta Commemoration in September 2012.
Through IAT, a DVD and a walking tour using QR Smartphone capabilities was created about the battle.
In the Kickstarter introduction, Oldfield and Thomas explain the history of the battle and their interest in expanding the footage they acquired while making a 9 minute DVD for the Battle of Augusta Commemorative Committee into public broadcasting quality documentary.
“We had probably an hour of interesting footage from every person we spoke with about the importance of the battle,” Oldfield said. “Augusta's story and the battle is the story of what the whole country was going through and showed what a tragedy it was during the Civil War.”
On Sept. 27, 1862, a fierce battle raged in Augusta.
“Only in recent years has the full story been revealed after a transcript from a court-martial over the battle was discovered at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. The documentary features best-selling author Jeff Shaara and some of Kentucky's most notable historians along with Augusta resident Nick Clooney, father of actor George Clooney, telling this important but forgotten story,” Oldfield and Thomas wrote. “This is the first full-length documentary describing the events of that devastating day.”
Oldfield, an award-winning broadcast journalist who worked as a host, reporter and producer in a variety of markets, is a graduate of The Covington Latin School and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He teaches at the University of Cincinnati and mentors students in a high school photography club. He is finishing up his master's of public history degree from Northern Kentucky University where he collaborated on projects with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, The Betts House and Historic New Richmond, Inc.
Thomas' work as a videographer and editor has taken him from Munich, Germany, to Washington, D.C., where he covered Capitol Hill for the U.S. Army, and worked as a cameraman for the funeral of President Ronald Reagan.
Through Kickstarter, donations can be made to the project, which is only funded if the entire goal amount is reached.
The project is listed under the film/video category at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/augustadocumentary/hurrah-for-kentucky-the-fierce-forgotten-fight-for.
Different pledge denominations, beginning at one dollar, bring a variety of perks, including a 4X6 Print of Augusta's own George Clooney at the Critics Choice Awards, by award-winning photographer for a $10 or higher pledge; a signed print of original artwork created for the documentary by artist Thomas for a donation of $25 or more with similar perks by denomination, all the way to executive producer credit, in the finished project, and other gifts, for a pledge of $5,000 or higher.
The project has a deadline of 3:20 p.m., Eastern Standard Time on Feb. 11.
“We just need completion funding to get the documentary ready for broadcast and distribution,” Oldfield said.
Oldfield said he hopes the completed project will someday end up on Kentucky Educational Television or in a PBS distribution.
“It is a story that needs to be told,” he said.