Focus on Fostoria - Aug_10_03

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Fostoria Focus - dated August 10, 2003

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Fostoria's History Goes to the Movies
for Sesquicentennial
By Leonard Skonecki

In modern America, when someone has a birthday party, someone else gets out a video camera and captures the moment. Next summer, Fostoria is having a party to celebrate its 150th birthday, our sesquicentennial.

Two Fostorians, Michael Hatfield and David Krauss, are going to make a film of Fostoria's early history and release it in conjunction with the sesquicentennial celebration.

Michael is a 2002 Fostoria High graduate and is majoring in art education at the University of Findlay. David is a 2001 FHS graduate and is studying environmental sciences at Bowling Green State University.

"David had access to a digital camera at BG so we tried it out," Michael said. "We wanted to do a film. We dropped the project because we didn't have any ideas. Then one day I heard that next year was going to be Fostoria's sesquicentennial.

"I though well we could do a historical film on Fostoria that could be shown at the sesquicentennial. That would add a different dimension to the festivities," he said.

The timing was coincidental.

"We actually started this on the 14th of July. One year before the Sesquicentennial," Michael said.

Michael has some experience with film. In high school, he and another student made a 13-minute, black-and-white film about a man who has a bad dream. It was shown at the FHS Performing Arts Center.

David has never made a film, but brings other talents to the project.

"Mike and I have collaborated on a lot of projects. I like to write and seem to do well with the written word. So I'm writing much of the script," he said. "And I seem to click mentally together and we like history."

The film is going to cover Fostoria's earliest history from approximately 1825 when the first settlers came here to the founding of Fort McGaffey around 1828 to the founding of Rome and Risdon in 1832 to the merger of the villages and the birth of Fostoria in 1854.

"We're going to highlight certain interesting facts. For instance, how the two towns almost comically fought or the counterfeiters. We thought that was entertaining and interesting," Michael said.

Accounts of the rivalry between Rome and Risdon reveal some of the foibles that all people have. In the winter of 1837-38, two con men named Brooks and Bird set up a print shop in Fostoria and made counterfeit Mexican currency.

They were caught, arrested and put in jail in Tiffin. Then they escaped and fled the area, never to be seen again.

"How Two Became One", "Where Paths Cross" and "Into the Forest" are some of the tentative titles Michael and David have thought up for the movie.

The story will be told through the eyes of a fictional character named Mr. Anders.

"He's going to be telling his knowledge of the towns-people," Michael said. "He was there. He saw it. He's talking to a gentlemen who's writing a book in 1890."

They expect the running time to be 50-60 minutes. Not the length of Titanic," said Michael, "but not 13 minutes, either."

Naturally, this will cost money. To do the kind of job they'd like, Michael and David would like to raise $6,600.

Much of the cost will involve filming. If they raise the full $6,600 they'll be able to shoot the film at Conner Prairie in Fishers, Ind.

Conner Prairie is a re-created 1836 village complete with period buildings, furniture and hand-sewn costumes. The cost will include musical accompaniment, recording, and use of equipment.

They have spoken with people at Conner Prairie and plan to use the village's period re-enactors as the cast.

David estimates filming could take up to three days.

"And we'll do a lot of preparation before that," he said.

Once completed, the film will be for sale on VHS and DVD.

"We plan on donating any money that we make on this to a community organization, perhaps the arts council, the Performing Arts Center at the high school or the historical society," Michael said.

Every movie needs a premiere showing. David said they hope it will be a scheduled event in the Fostoria sesquicentennial at the Performing Arts Center at FHS.

"We'd like to have the premiere showing of the film during the Sesquicentennial," Michael said. "We'd like it to be an important part of the celebration."

Anyone who would like to help put Fostoria's history on film can contact Michael or David at 419-54505766 (you'll get an answering machine), 419-435-1088, or


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