Documentary being filmed in Paris
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A film maker, his family and crew will be back in Paris Saturday to shoot footage for a one-hour documentary about the community.
Their first stop will be Wood Street Park at 7:45 a.m. when volunteers will gather for a Keep Paris Beautiful event. Another stop will be Cowie Wine Cellars and the Historic Arkansas Wine Museum to interview owners Bob and Betty Cowie.
Once finished, the documentary will be offered to the Arkansas Educational Television Network and will be posted to You Tube, film maker Ray Bertram, who lives on Petit Jean Mountain, said last week.
“We’re putting this forward as a pilot project and hope it’ll be accepted by AETN,” he said. “Even if they don’t, it’ll still go to You Tube. You Tube has the power to send it around the world. AETN will give it added authenticity and weight.”
If picked up by AETN, he’s going to title the series of documentaries About Arkansas and the Paris documentary will serve as the pilot. He is hoping to have an answer from AETN sometime this summer.
“After we finish the project, we’ll show it to AETN and they’ll tell us what to do next,” Betram said. “AETN is very happy we’re producing it ourselves. We’re excited about it.”
Bertram was introduced to Paris while filming a segment for another possible series called Abandoned Arkansas. He shot a segment at the old Smith Hospital, which was vacated in the 1970s after what is now known as Mercy Hospital Paris opened. The old Smith Hospital remains abandoned.
“When we did the piece on Smith Hospital, we were impressed at how friendly and easy to work with people in Paris were,” he said. “The more we get into Paris, the more excited we become about this project. Everywhere we turn around, there’s something to shoot.”
Bertram will be making his third trip to Paris Saturday. On his last trip to town, footage was shot at the Logan County Museum in Paris, where a mock hanging was staged. The “victim” was Paris Mayor Daniel Rogers.
Bertram and his crew had lunch with Rogers and Paris Area Chamber of Commerece Executive Director Linda Hixson. Interviews with Rogers and Hixson were also filmed.
“They love the overall flavor of our community,” Hixson said. “They’re impressed with how helpful and friendly everyone is and they’re impressed with the Courthouse and Courthouse Square.”
In addition to the Keep Paris Beautiful effort and Cowie Winery and the Historic Arkansas Wine Museum, Bertram said he’s interested in the murals that have been painted on various buildings in town. He’s also interested in filming the section of Old Military Road that has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
On Saturday, Bertram and his crew want to film members of the Keep Paris Beautiful effort beginning the work of painting a mural on the wall at the Wells Law Firm Building, located at the intersection of West Walnut Street and Express Street.
The Paris Area Chamber of Commerce helping to fund the project. Hixson said she hopes this project will lead to other murals being painted on blank walls in the community.
Bertram said he’s got about two-third of the footage he needs and is “optimistic about finishing Saturday.”
Hixson added that Bertram is working on holding a public showing of the documentrary in Paris once production is complete.