limaohio.com

Former Lima resident produces Civil War documentary

By Kelly Doran kdoran@civitasmedia.com

June 16, 2014

LIMA — A local church will be showing a five-part documentary about the Civil War produced by a man who got his start in Lima.


The first two episodes of the series, “Civil War: The Untold Story,” will be shown at St. Mark United Methodist Church in Lima from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday. The third and fourth episodes will be shown Wednesday and the last will be shown Thursday, at the same time.


The producer, Chris Wheeler, had his first television job in 1981 at WLIO as a news photographer. He founded Great Divide Pictures out of Denver in 1996 and is now the executive producer and partner.


The documentary focuses on lesser known battles that took place in the Western Theater, which is the area between the Mississippi River and the Appalachian Mountains, according to Wheeler.


“Most of us learn about the Civil War through the great battles in the East,” Wheeler said.


Great Divide produces visitor center films for the National Park Service and several of the films it has made were Civil War films, which Wheeler said they were allowed to use in their documentary. The National Park Service gave them permission to film where the battles took place on park land.


Because of this, Wheeler said they were able to film nearly all the battles in the documentary where the battles took place. The only area they were not able to do this was around Atlanta because the battlegrounds were not preserved there.


The park service has been charged with the duty to preserve and protect the battlegrounds, Wheeler said. Soldiers in the Civil War understood how significant the battles were and kept records of where they occurred. Also, Wheeler said they recreated the battles for the most part.


Wheeler finds the Civil War very interesting for multiple reasons. Wheeler discovered that in the battles it was often a small twist of fate that would decide the outcome. Also, Wheeler found that “many of the issues that divided us in the 1860s continue to be points of disagreement and discussion today.”


The documentary has been and will be broadcast to about 90 percent of the country. Every station airs it at a different time. According to Wheeler, WBGU aired the first episode the week of June 3.


More than 700,000 people lost their lives in the Civil War, Wheeler said. “It’s the great American tragedy.”


St. Mark is located at 1110 N. Metcalf St. The documentary will be shown in the sanctuary and refreshments will be served.