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George Washington's First War Electronic Press Kit

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Pittsburgh Filmmakers Go to War

In 2001 Paladin Communications released When the Forest Ran Red: Washington, Braddock and a Doomed Army.  This groundbreaking film documentary chronicled the opening days of the French & Indian War, which in turn helped to set America on the road to revolution a generation later.  The film has aired in major markets across the United States, earned five national awards, and been sold into secondary school systems and universities from coast to coast.  Now Paladin has completed principal photography on the sequel, George Washington’s First War: The Battles for Fort Duquesne. 

This 2003 documentary begins where Forest concluded, with the shocking defeat of Gen. Edward Braddock’s “invincible” British army in the Ohio country by a French-Indian allied force from Fort Duquesne.  It is left to Braddock’s young aide, George Washington, to lead the retreat from the battlefield.  Now the British colonies of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland are undefended, and French-led raiding parties use terror to roll English settlements back toward the Atlantic coast.  Into this bleak situation again steps Washington, drafted by Virginia to command its undermanned army.  For three years Washington matches wits with an enemy he calls “the most skilled in the world.”  Finally the British government launches a new attack against the French stronghold of Fort Duquesne, with George Washington in the lead.  Here Washington will face his greatest challenges of all.

Featured in the new motion picture are large battle reenactments, the art of Robert Griffing, John Buxton, Nat Youngblood, and Lee Teter, and an international cast of prominent historians led by Francis Parkman Prize-winner Dr. Fred Anderson, author of the New York Times bestseller, Crucible of War, and Cambridge scholar, Dr. Stephen Brumwell, author of the current bestseller, Redcoats.

“ The success of When the Forest Ran Red made it not only possible but imperative that we tell the rest of the story,” said Paladin principal Robert Matzen about the new film.  “Washington was at his lowest point, emotionally and physically, when he buried Braddock.  But with no one else to turn to, Virginia desperately sought him out.  Here he learned how to be a man powerful enough to overthrow an empire.”

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Scholars Shine in New Historical Documentary
 
Four published authors highlight the cast of on-camera historians in the new French & Indian War documentary, George Washington’s First War: The Battles for Fort Duquesne, to be released in May 2003 by Paladin Communications of Bethel Park in cooperation with some of Pittsburgh’s leading historical organizations.

George Washington’s First War is the sequel to When the Forest Ran Red: Washington, Braddock and a Doomed Army, a groundbreaking 2001 film documentary that has aired in major markets across the United States, earned five national awards, and been sold into secondary school systems and universities from coast to coast.

Headlining When the Forest Ran Red was Dr. Fred Anderson, University of Colorado scholar and Francis Parkman Prize winner for his book, Crucible of War (Alfred A. Knopf, 2000).  Anderson returns here to interpret events that shaped the military career of young George Washington.  “I liked the way that Forest made a complex narrative understandable in human terms,” says Anderson.  “I very much look forward to seeing a story with Washington at its center that deals with those same kinds of issues.”

Fresh faces also mark George Washington’s First War, including Dr. Stephen Brumwell, author of the current bestseller, Redcoats (Cambridge University Press, 2002).  Says Brumwell, “The intelligent and illuminating approach to telling the dramatic story of these pivotal years in North America’s history that has been adopted for these documentaries will undoubtedly leave Paladin well placed to satisfy the growing demand for information about America’s first war.”

Dr. Paul Kopperman of Oregon State University and author of the landmark Braddock at the Monongahela (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1977) makes his first documentary appearance in George Washington’s First War to discuss British Generals Edward Braddock and John Forbes, both of whom led expeditions to defeat the French at the site of present-day Pittsburgh.  Other historians appearing include Dr. John Mohawk, author of Utopian Societies (Clear Light Publishers, 2000).  Mohawk is a member of the Seneca Nation and America’s foremost scholar on Eastern Indians.  The role of Native American women is interpreted by Dr. Yvonne Dion-Buffalo of the State University of New York.  And Bruce Egli, Pittsburgh colonial historian, provides the point of view of the French while standing at the site of Fort Duquesne, French stronghold in the Ohio country.

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Educational Community Benefits from New Historical Film
 

Overwhelmingly positive reviews greeted the 2001 historical film documentary, When the Forest Ran Red: Washington, Braddock and a Doomed Army.  This groundbreaking chronicle of the opening days of the French & Indian War aired on PBS stations in major markets across the United States and earned five national awards.  Most importantly, it is introducing young minds to the war that trained America’s revolutionaries, who in turn founded the United States of America.

When the Forest Ran Red
set the stage for the upcoming 2003 documentary, George Washington’s First War: The Battles for Fort Duquesne, which promises scholarship that is just as deep as that of its predecessor.

The journal Video Librarian said of When the Forest Ran Red, “Rich in detail and primary source information, this would make an excellent addition to any social studies curriculum dealing with Colonial America, and would be of interest to general history buffs.  Highly recommended.”  School Library Journal added, “Vivid narration and reenactments tell the story of the ensuing debacle. With sufficient background preparation, social studies and history classes can utilize this video.”

American History magazine touted Forest as “a well-presented documentary,” and the American Association of Museums noted that,“Scholarship is deep, structure is interesting and engaging.  Nice mix of reenactments, paintings, sketches, and drawings. Good job of presenting a seldom-studied part of our past.”

Finally, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History endorsed the film by saying, “When the Forest Ran Red will serve as a wonderful educational program, not only [at the] college and university level, but most importantly for high school students.”

Paladin Communications of Bethel Park spent the summer and fall of 2002 shooting the sequel in five states, involving several hundred reenactors, an international cast of historians, and the works of noted artists such as Robert Griffing and Lee Teter.  “It’s a tremendous story that really can’t miss with students,” says writer/producer Robert Matzen.  “We intend to rivet them to their seats, to make them stop and think, ‘How would I survive if I had to participate in this war?  Which side would I take?  What would it have been like to serve under George Washington, or better yet, to be George Washington?’  They’re great questions.  We want the audience to really think about it all.”

 

 

 

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