Documentaries about Paris and the re-creation of an 1863 Civil War battle fought near Paris premiered Saturday night at the Paris Middle School auditorium.
But premier night wasn’t without it’s problems. Despite that, both documentaries were finally shown and they were well received, according to Ray Bertram of Blind Man’s Bluff Productions, which produced them.
“We had a lot of technical problems and probably should have taken more time so, we’re going to go back and adapt and change it,” Dr. Curtis Varnell, of the Western Arkansas Educational Services Cooperative, said. He was instrumental in obtaining a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council, which helped pay for the documentaries.
A crowd of around 200 gathered in the Middle School Auditorium at 7 p.m. to watch the documentaries.
The first documentary shown, about the re-creation of the Battle of Haguewood Prairie, which began around 7:20 p.m., had to be stopped after sound problems became apparent. According to Bertram, the production team had “trouble adapting our technology to the school’s technology.”
So, an intermission was called while they worked out the problem. Finally, at 8:15 p.m., the sound problems were fixed, the intermission ended and a documentary about Paris, entitled This is Arkansas: Paris, began.
The documentary featured the area’s scenery, its coal mining history, beautification work by volunteers, work done by area churches, the Logan County Museum’s group of re-enactors and their staging of a hanging re-enactment, the history of the last legal hanging in Arkansas which took place on what is now museum-grounds, some historic homes and interviews with several area residents.
Showing This is Arkansas: Paris took about 40 minutes. Afterward, Bertram walked onto the stage of the auditorium and posed a question to the audience.
“Is this a video you would want to share? I hope so,” he said. “This is not our movie. This is your town and it is beautiful and we want to show everyone how incredible it is.”
After that, the documentary about the re-enactment of the Battle of Haguewood Prairie, was shown. The battle re-enactment involved numerous people from the area and it was done during the Saturday, Oct. 5 Frontier Day event.
Students participating in the re-enactment also visited several area schools earlier this month to talk about the battle.