Antietam

July 23, 2010

A few weeks ago I found myself standing in the middle of a picturesque field where 23,000 people were killed, wounded or missing in one day. Antietam Battlefield in Sharpsburg, MD is the site of the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, September 17th 1862. During the American Civil War  Confederate General Robert E. Lee, emboldened by recent victories, decided to move his Army of Northern Virginia into enemy “Northern” territory. He was met near Antietam Creek in Sharpsburg by Union Army Maj. General George McClellan and approximately 75,000 Union soldiers. McClellan had a perfect plan on paper. Attack Lee’s flanks to spread the Confederate Army out then drive through the weakened center with the bulk of Union Forces. Unfortunately for McClellan the plan wasn’t executed as well as it was written. The Union General was a bit trigger shy and failed to commit all of his forces to the battle, giving Lee opportunity to withstand the onslaught. When all was said and done at the end of the day the 12 square miles of battlefield, with such landmarks as The Dunker Church, Burnside’s Bridge, Bloody Lane and Miller’s Cornfield, were littered with bodies and flowing with blood from both sides.

Standing in that field where so many people died almost 150 years earlier I paused and attempted to put it all into context. Even now, as I sit in my air conditioned house typing on my computer with electric lights illuminating the room, I find it impossible to explain or comprehend the difference between what it is like now with what it was like then. I can write all the words I want but can anyone reading this truly feel, experience or understand what those men and women went through?  All I can do is simply reflect on a few of the remarkable people from that day:

A bugler, Private Johnny Cook, was awarded The Medal of Honor for his actions at Antietam. He was only 15 years old.

Clara Barton arrived on the battlefield around noon and while bullets whizzed overhead gave comfort and aid to wounded, suffering soldiers. One of them was even shot dead while being cradled in her arms. Nearly 20 years later Miss Barton would be the founder and first president of The American Red Cross. No small feat considering this was 40 years before women could even vote.

At only 19 years old Sergeant William McKinley was in charge of the Commissary Department delivering food and coffee to soldiers on the battlefield. He would later become the 25th President of the United States.

As I struggle to put “life in 1862” into context in my own mind I think about other aspects of the era that I have recently had occasion to come across.

Approximately 22 years before Antietam, Edgar Allan Poe published “The Fall of the House of Usher.” He died only nine years later, just 13 years before the battle. Poe was a longtime resident of Baltimore, Maryland which is only 65 miles from the Antietam Battlefield. I wonder, despite the young age of many of the men and women on the battlefield that day, if they were familiar with Poe’s work? Poe creates a morbid, creepy, scary and strange world in his stories. His tales are fiction but the world that he sets them in is not, though it is one that seems very far removed from The American Civil War battles that took place only 65 miles and 20 years from Poe’s home and age.

I have also recently had the opportunity to tour the Thomaston Opera House in Thomaston, CT. The Thomaston Opera House was built in 1884, just 21 years after the battle at Antietam. Walking through this beautiful, decorative and venerable building seems, again, to be a distant world from the one that existed while 23,000 people died or were wounded in the soil of Sharpsburg, MD. As the ghosts of soldiers wandered the, still fresh, scarred, fields of battle, a different variety of ghosts began striding the planks of the Thomaston Opera House.

My capacity to comprehend the hell of Antietam increased only when I learned that it was the first battlefield in U.S. history to have been photographed before the dead were buried. Alexander Gardner took a number of photos of the battlefield just 2 days after the fighting had ceased. His images shocked and appalled viewers around the country, this was the first time the reality of war would seen by folks who had not participated. Until this point visual renderings of war were usually painted, often glorifying battle or at least, by the very nature of the artistic medium, giving a few degrees of separation from the terrible reality of war. Gardner’s photos really hit home. Today, despite the graphic on screen violence we see every day, these photos still pack a punch. It’s interesting to note that Gardner made use of a new photographic technology called stereography. Two lenses take simultaneous photographs and when the pictures are observed through a special viewer the image appears to be in 3-D.

A LONE GRAVE ON BATTLEFIELD OF ANTIETAM

CONFEDERATE DEAD ALONG THE HAGERSTOWN PIKE

CARNAGE AT BLOODY LANE

DUNKER CHURCH

A Painting by (Union) Captain James Hope depicting the "Artillery Hell" of Antietam. Notice The Dunker Church on the left. Despite depicting actual battle, this painting is clearly less powerful a representation of war than the Dunker Church photo preceding it.

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House of Usher Update.

July 15, 2010

Some of you may have noticed that William Beckett has removed his blog post mentioning “The Fall of the House of Usher”. And that the Kickstarter Campaign associated with the project has been cancelled. Not to worry, the project is still on but I’ll let William explain:

“Due to the overwhelmingly positive response received after announcing Nathan Wrann’s new short film adaptation of “The Fall of the House of Usher”, those involved in production have decided to take the method of funding in a different direction.  I’d like to thank everyone on here that made contributions and showed support, and I will be keeping you in the loop regarding updates and events connected with the project.  My involvement in the film has not changed, and I am as excited as ever to be a part of this.  A lot of exciting things are on the horizon for the film, so stay tuned!” -William Beckett

Please stay in touch with us by either joining the Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fall-of-the-House-of-Usher/140579825955524 or join the mailing list at http://www.thefallofthehouseofusher.com

Kickstarting the House of Usher

July 12, 2010

One thing I will never understand is why there is always traffic, for no apparent reason, as soon as I cross state lines into Connecticut when returning home from vacation.

Let me backtrack. This morning I was wrapping up an AWESOME, relaxing weekend I spent with Kim and our friends Heidi and Vince at a remote cottage in the woods in Pennsylvania. If you want to know how the weekend went, you’ll have to read Heidi Fuqua’s poetic accounting of it in the guest book left behind at the Francena Cottage.

Before Kim and I left on our 7 and a half hour drive back to Connecticut I “PRESSED THE BUTTON” and launched the www.Kickstarter.com campaign for my next motion picture project: The Fall of the House of Usher.

The Fall of the House of Usher is a short film adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s masterpiece by the same name and will star William Beckett lead singer of the music group The Academy Is... I will be directing the short film this December from a script that I wrote.

Kickstarter is a tool that we will be using to help fund this project. The Fall of the House of Usher is, without a doubt, my most ambitious and challenging project yet and raising independent funds for this project is crucial to being able to make it the way that it deserves to be made. Kickstarter allows us to raise funds in the form of donations from our fans, friends and family. Anybody* can donate funds to our project to help us reach our goal. If we reach our goal we get all of the funds pledged to us, and you get a great reward. If we don’t reach our goal we don’t get any of the funds that were pledged. As you can see, it’s very important that we make that goal, in order to do that we will need help spreading the word to people interested in generously supporting this project, so make sure to tell your friends, parents, siblings, tweeps, fb friends etc etc. basically, tell everyone.

This morning William Beckett announced this project on his blog and had a hugely positive reaction from his fans. Within the comments that immediately started pelting his blog was a bunch of questions that I’ll answer now. If you have more questions, check out the FAQ at Kickstarter or drop a comment here and I’ll answer it.

Q) William [Beckett], will you appear on the film, or will it be only your voice narrating the story, as in Poe’s tale? (by Vanessa Freitas)

A) Although Mr. Beckett’s character is called “The Narrator” in the script, this ‘name’ is simply an identifier of the character in the script based on how the character in Poe’s original tale is often referred to in analysis. The fact is that in Poe’s original short story The Narrator’s name is never given, however the entire horror of the House of Usher is witnessed through his eyes. Rather than create a fake name to identify the character I simply adopted “The Narrator”. To answer your question, in short, William Beckett will be on screen for virtually every scene of the movie. I highly recommend reading the original short story.    

Q) If we don’t have any money to donate and/or a debit/credit card to use to donate money, is there any other way we can be of service? Because this sounds really cool and I would really like to help. (by DJ_Jazzy_J)

A) YES! There is a way that you can help that doesn’t cost anything: TELL EVERYONE THAT YOU KNOW! And encourage them to generously support this project. Copy and paste this link to tweet, blog, e-mail, comment etc: http://kck.st/9OTOhu . Just make sure that you aren’t spamming people.

Q) How will your [William Beckett’s] work on this interfere with the band? Touring, Writing, the album coming out, that kind of thing? (Heidi_S)

A) William Beckett responded: “The project will in no way delay work on Album 4. This is a short film, and while filming will be grueling, it won’t take a long period of time.” I’ll add: I’ve wanted to work with Bill for a long time and this project was a perfect opportunity because we’ll be able to get an incredible, dedicated performance out of Bill without taking away from his work on Album 4.

Q) Are people allowed to come watch filming?

A) Nope. Filmmaking and performing for film is a very intimate, stressful, anxiety inducing process that requires a ton of focus and concentration. Any deviation from whatever comfort zone has been established on-set can be very distracting to the performers and crew that are trying desperately to make something worthwhile. However, donating at the $1,000 and up levels does allow 1 or more short, non-invasive visits to the set.

Q) I’ve maxed out my credit card this month, but I promise you I’ll be donating the first day of August…

A) It’s important to note that your pledge will only be charged against your card when the Campaign is OVER on OCTOBER 1st! So it’s important that you have the funds available when your card is charged in OCTOBER.

Q) I don’t want to be negative – but what happens if we pledge money but it doesn’t make it to the $15,000?

A) If you pledge money and we don’t make the goal then your credit card is not charged and we do not receive any of the money that was pledged.

Q) Will that affect production?

A) I can’t really answer this until October 1st when the Kickstarter campaign ends. If we make the goal then we never need to think about this question. I am confident that we will exceed our goal, however, I know that we will only make it with your support and your help spreading the word. If you’re concerned that we won’t make our goal and you really want to see William Beckett portray this iconic character in a production of The Fall of the House of Usher that truly captures the essence of the original Poe short story, then you have all the motivation in the world to spread the word and get people involved. I’m sure we’ll make it… with your help.

Please go to our Kickstarter Project page where you can find out all about the project


Two More Great Reasons…

June 5, 2010

One of my favorite ads of all time:

Lost Highway ad

Advertisement for Lost Highway

Check out http://www.lynchposters.com/ for more posters and ads of David Lynch’s films.

“There Was A Young Man With No Head…”

May 18, 2010

Hello Family, Friends, Colleagues and Fans,

BIG News today! Our second film, “BURNING INSIDE” (which just had a hugely successful World Premiere at the Connecticut Film Fest), is NOW AVAILABLE ON DVD and Digital Download through our distributor at Channel Midnight http://bit.ly/BI-CM .

It is now time for us to mobilize our army and find an audience for this film. We hope you’ll help us in that effort.

There are a number of ways to help:

1) Forward this as an e-mail to EVERYONE on your e-mail list. Sure BURNING INSIDE was described as “a raw and grinding midnight movie” (Deadline Magazine) and “A challenging and altogether harrowing experience” (Shock Cinema) but you never know who might appreciate that kind of thing, or forward it on to their friends too. (It was also “highly recommended for lovers of smart films.” (fearzone.com)

2) MAKE MONEY! Become a Channel Midnight / BURNING INSIDE affiliate and earn 10% (almost $2 per DVD!) of every sale made with your personal link! Go here for details: http://bit.ly/CM-Affiliate . If you have a moderately trafficked website, blog, facebook, or twitter this option could be pretty darn lucrative. (make sure to put your affiliate link in this e-mail before you forward it on). (If you need assistance setting up the affiliate program, please e-mail me. I’ll be happy to help.)

3) Quick Copy and Paste for Twitter and Facebook (feel free to replace the link with your affiliate link, or customize however you want):

Check out my friend @nathanwrann new movie BURNING INSIDE now available on DVD and Download http://bit.ly/BI-CM

4) Join our Facebook, and twitter pages and repost, retweet, share, “like” and spread the word through social networking: www.facebook.com/burninginsidemovie www.twitter.com/nathanwrann www.twitter.com/channelmidnight http://www.facebook.com/pages/Channel-Midnight-Releasing/101936676513987?ref=ts

5) Go to http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003MHMU88 and write a review! (It’s amazing how important reviews on Amazon are.)

In short, it’s all about the numbers, the more people that know about it, the more successful it will be.

If you are a member of the PRESS please contact me at nw [at] daltongang-productions.com for press releases, press kits and copies for review.

THANKS EVERYONE!

We truly appreciate and rely on your support to help get the word out about this film.

Nathan Wrann & Kimberly Dalton

Dalton Gang Productions

p.s. We’re still fighting for that Audience Favorite award from the CT Film Fest (we prefer to call it the Best Audience Award). So please go to http://www.ctfilmfest.com/site/node/280 and vote 5 stars for us.

What the critics have to say about BURNING INSIDE:

“impressive…writer-director Nathan Wrann unleashes an unsettling psychological mystery, imbues his story with a unique look and pace and works wonders… a challenging and altogether harrowing experience for discerning horror fans.”

– Steven Puchalski, SHOCK CINEMA

“BURNING INSIDE is a raw and grinding midnight movie, unsavory grim in parts then slowly contemplative.”

– Marcus Stiglegger, DEADLINE MAGAZINE

“There is an awareness of filmmaking as a storytelling medium at work here that you will not find in a multiplex… A wholly original and daring piece of cinema. It’s rare that acting, cinematography and editing work in such perfect harmony to create something this unique… Highly recommended to lovers of smart films.”

– Greg Lamberson, FEAR ZONE

Available now, the BURNING INSIDE DVD includes:

• 120-minute feature film

• 12-part featurette containing more than one hour of behind-the-scenes footage and interviews

• Collection of trailers for BURNING INSIDE and other exciting upcoming releases.

The DVD is now available for purchase at Amazon.com or directly from the Channel Midnight shop or for rent at YouTube. More streaming and Video-on-Demand options are on their way.

For more information, visit channelmidnight.com

There is no past, there is no future.

May 18, 2010

There is only today and today BURNING INSIDE comes out!! Available on DVD and download-to-own and download-to-rent from various vendors. Check http://www.channelmidnight.com for more info. I’ll be posting the full scoop back here later.

and don’t forget to vote for us for the CT Film Fest Audience Award (because you are the best audience!) 5 Stars please! http://www.ctfilmfest.com/site/node/280 (and tell all your friends)

John Doe

Award Winner? You Decide.

May 13, 2010

I heard a rumor that voting for the CT Film Fest Audience Favorite Film Award is conducted on-line.

It’s easy to vote for BURNING INSIDE Just go to this link: http://www.ctfilmfest.com/site/node/280 and click on the Your Rating “5 Star” and send us on our way to an award!! NO NEED TO REGISTER!

We had a GREAT TURNOUT and that should be recognized so please take this small step and help us out.

We’re Very, Very close… Please spread the word.

Help Us Smash The Competition

Shock Cinema Reviews BURNING INSIDE!

May 10, 2010


Shock Cinema #38

Shock Cinema #38

Check out Shock Cinema magazine #38, available this month, for rave reviews of

BURNING INSIDE:
“impressive…a challenging and altogether harrowing experience for discerning horror fans.”


SATAN HATES YOU:
“weird and wild…a truly subversive work of art.”

BURNING INSIDE will be available on DVD next Tuesday, May 18th from Channel Midnight Releasing. Pre-order now.

SATAN HATES YOU has been selected to screen at a number of film festivals this summer, dates and locations coming soon!

Great Audiences Make for Great Screenings.

May 9, 2010

And so the CT Film Fest World Premiere of BURNING INSIDE comes to an end.

I would like to send a HUGE ‘thank you’ to all who attended the screening last night at the Danbury Music Center. By all accounts on my end it was a total success!

The venue was packed (despite the screening being scheduled opposite the CT Film Fest Closing Night PARTY, guaranteeing that most people involved in the fest would NOT be attending our screening! And that we couldn’t attend the closing night party.) with, what can only be described as, the most patient, respectful and tolerant audience I have ever had the pleasure of sitting with. Despite the sub-par conditions assigned to us (the Danbury Music Centre should never be used for screening films, not to mention it was hot as hell in there) the audience settled into their seats and patiently waited as we hooked up the DVD player (The CTFF insisted that I supply a digibeta tape in advance for screening, (which costs approx $500) even though they didn’t have a digibeta deck available. So I had a digibeta tape made (at a cost of $500, because the CTFF said I NEEDED it) and we screened from a (15 cent) DVD on a DVD player THAT I SUPPLIED!) We then had to deal with with technical audio issues.  Apparently, since the first day of the festival the soundboard was hooked up incorrectly. The audio issues were resolved only because I knew there was an audio GENIUS in the audience: Mike Arafeh from Coffeehouse Recording Studio in Middletown, CT stepped up to the plate and delivered when the CT Film Fest failed to supply a technician or representative that could handle audio. Without his involvement it seems unlikely that the screening would have been able to go forward (remember, everyone involved in the fest was at the Closing Night Party… We were, pretty much, on our own, in the dumping ground.). Once the movie began, BURNING INSIDE captured their attention and the audience seemingly held their collective breath from the first frame through the last when the “Burning Inside background drone noise” was finally broken with a huge round of applause! After the movie I, unfortunately, had only the briefest, chance to talk and discuss the film with fans that were very receptive to its…. um…. unique qualities. I would love to continue those conversations so everyone should please feel free to contact me with any and all of your thoughts about it.

Once again THANK YOU ALL for your support!! It is appreciated more than you will ever know. GREAT AUDIENCES MAKE FOR GREAT SCREENINGS!

And as this chapter ends, a new one begins. BURNING INSIDE will be released on DVD soon (release date was moved back to May 18th) and is now available for pre-sale. The DVD contains a 1+ hour long Behind The Scenes documentary (created by Shane Tea French) that is getting rave reviews and is unlike any behind the scenes you’ve ever seen. Make sure to reserve your copy today at http://channelmidnight.com

Now let me get back to work on my next project, codename: “SHUDDER”

PS: If you attended any of the Screenings, Panels or Workshops at the CT Film Fest this weekend I would LOVE to hear about your experiences. Please post them (Good, Bad or Ugly) in the comments section.

What does a $500 paperweight look like?


BURNING INSIDE *World Premiere* at the CT Film Festival

April 21, 2010

My second film, BURNING INSIDE, is screening at the Connecticut Film Festival (CTFF) in Danbury, CT on Saturday May 8th at 10pm at the Danbury Music Center!

The BURNING INSIDE CTFF webpage is here: http://www.ctfilmfest.com/site/node/280

Tickets are now on sale here!

If you’re coming in from out of town here are some hotels to stay at:

Kim & I will be staying at The Maron Hotel with rates starting at $79 (203) 791-2200…
There’s also The Ethan Allen Hotel $89 (203) 744-1776…
and $89 at The Holiday Inn Hotel (203) 792-4000.
Make sure you mention the group code CTFF when calling in for your reservations.

At 10:30am on Saturday May 8th I’ll be participating in a panel called My First Time: Rookie Filmmakers on Their Debut Projects at the Palace Theater in Danbury (Sib Law who did the green screen and some producing duties on Burning Inside will also be participating in the panel) (tickets: https://the-connecticut-film-festival-llc.ticketleap.com/buy-tickets/festivals-and-fairs/my-first-time-rookie-filmmakers-on-their-debut-projects/danbury/94E7C736-ECA6-4DBD-B5DF-4F0BA051966 ).

I highly recommend that you check out the CT Film Fest webpagehttp://www.ctfilmfest.com/site/ . There’s a ton of great events, musicians (The Sawtelles, who contributed the opening title song to HUNTING SEASON are playing on Saturday at 7pm) and very informative panels going on for the entire week.

Please pass this invite onto all of your friends, family, fans, tweeps, facebookers, myspacers etc!!

Kim and I hope to see you there!

We’re planning on spending a good deal of time around the festival events passing out flyers, if you want to help out, let me know and we’ll get together to work to promote this thing.

http://www.daltongang-productions.com
http://www.channelmidnight.com
http://www.facebook.com/burninginsidemovie