The Strand Theatre will show the 35-minute movie, “Kennesaw: One Last Mountain,” at 7:30 p.m., following an hour of live music from the Civil War era, including a performance by Marietta organist Ron Carter.
The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain was a major fight between the North and South during the Atlanta Campaign of June 1864. Nearly 150 years later, the site is now home to the 2,923-acre Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, with 18 miles of hiking trails.
Nancy Walther, the park’s superintendent, said the national park applied in 2011 for $485,000 in funds from the National Park Service to create a movie documenting the historic battle. The film will be available for park guests to watch at the battlefield’s visitor center.
Chris Wheeler, the director and writer of “Kennesaw: One Last Mountain,” said Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is a “beautiful place to enjoy nature and hike,” but it’s important to understand the events that happened on the land.
“I would ask visitors that do come to take an extra half hour to view the film,” Wheeler said. “It was the scene of tremendous slaughter and sacrifice on both sides.”
Film crew stages large battle
Wheeler said the more than 150 re-enactors used in the film faced exhaustion from 16-hour days as the 30-member documented the terrifying experience of The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain.
The film was shot in May and June of 2012 in Resaca, 50 miles north of Marietta, since much of the Kennesaw battlefield has been converted into the park, Wheeler said.
Wheeler said “Kennesaw: One Last Mountain” is a traditional documentary with a narrator and voiceovers reading letters from soldiers in the field. But producers were also striving to make the visual components similar to a feature film.
The “major production” used the best Civil War re-enactors available to navigate special effects and makeup, in an effort to place the audience inside the battle, Wheeler said.
Keller, who is originally from Ohio, has directed other short documentaries, including “Life after Katrina,” “Our Time in Hell: The Korean War,” and “The Campaign for Chattanooga: Death Knell of the Confederacy.”
Keller’s Denver-based production company, Great Divide Pictures, has been contracted by 30 national parks to create films for various visitor centers.
Weekend to honorwar efforts
This weekend, many of the re-enactors from the film will be at the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Chickamauga, in southeast Tennessee and northwest Georgia. So, a special screening of “Kennesaw: One Last Mountain” will be shown for these participants at the park’s visitor center Sept. 27.
In the fall of 1863, soldiers wounded in the Battle of Chickamauga were sent down the railroad to Marietta.
Because of this history, Marietta’s commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the area’s Civil War battles will start this weekend with tours of churches and hotels that were converted into makeshift hospitals to treat both Confederate and Union soldiers.
On Sunday, the “Bleeding Gray and Blue” events will include living history tours of the Marietta Confederate Cemetery, which was started by local women to bury soldiers from each of the Southern states that were left on the battlefield.
Starting Friday, the Gone With the Wind Museum, Marietta Museum of History, Old Zion Heritage Museum, and Root House Museum will all present special exhibits about the Civil War.
If you go ...
Earl Smith Strand Theatre,
117 North Park Square
* Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with live music
* Film runs 35 minutes and starts at 7:30 p.m.
* $8 per ticket
* Presented by Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park and The Battles of Marietta Georgia 150th Committee