Actor Mark Winn flew into the Quad Cities International Airport from Los Angeles the first weekend of April, after months of preparation for his role as 'Frederick Douglass' in the new historical docudrama Sons & Daughters of Thunder.
"I really enjoyed prepping for this portrayal and the project. For me it meant a lot of historical research and reading on Frederick Douglass," said Winn, a film, television and stage actor in Los Angeles, California. "I had to put myself into a 19th-century frame of mind as best I could. It was very challenging and exciting!"
Sons & Daughters of Thunder, produced by Emmy® nominated filmmakers Kelly and Tammy Rundle of Fourth Wall Films, is based on the award-winning play by Earlene Hawley and Curtis Heeter, and tells the unforgettable true story of the beginning of the end of slavery in America.
Pre-production on the project began in late 2011 with the completion of the screenplay and a special read-through by fifteen professional actors gathered at the Curtainbox Theatre Co. rehearsal studio in Davenport, Iowa. Co-producers Kent and Earlene Hawley took part in the event. Thunder's casting director Kimberly Furness hosted the reading and is currently preparing to cast major parts for the film.
Preliminary filming for the project was done in Cincinnati, Ohio at the Harriet Beecher Stowe House and the old Lane Seminary grounds, as well as in areas in Kentucky and Illinois.
Mark Winn's dramatic opening scene as former slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass was filmed at The Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum in Rock Island, Illinois.
The Director of Photography for Sons & Daughters of Thunder is award-winning documentary filmmaker Kevin Railsback of Filmmaking Naturally.
"Mark Winn is exceptional in the role of Frederick Douglass," said Director Kelly Rundle. "All of us were riveted as he walked into place, dressed in his early 1800s suit, his appearance transformed and Douglass' powerful words delivered to perfection."
"The biggest challenge for any independent film project is finding funding," said producer Tammy Rundle. "But it's moments like this, when you see excellent cast and crew working together to bring a story to life, that you feel the challenge is worth it."
Before heading back to the West Coast, Mark Winn celebrated his birthday in Springfield, Illinois at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. There, standing before the replica White House entrance is a wax figure of Frederick Douglass and African-American abolitionist Sojourner Truth.
Mark stood eye-to-eye with Frederick Douglass--their height exact and their expressions matched. The striking similarity was enough to draw people over to talk with the actor. As a volunteer snapped pictures, she asked Mark if he was related to Frederick Douglass.
"No," he answered. "I'm just a great admirer and proud to portray him in Sons & Daughters of Thunder."
Production on Sons & Daughters of Thunder continues in the autumn and winter months of 2013/2014. The film will be released in 2014.
If you are interested in supporting Sons & Daughters of Thunder, tax-deductible contributions for production and post-production can be made via the project's fiscal sponsor, The Shell Rock Historical Society. Make out your check payable to "Shell Rock Historical Society-Thunder Film" and mail it to: Fourth Wall Films, P.O. Box 702, Moline, IL 61265.
The Shell Rock Historical Society will forward a receipt for your contribution by mail, and your name(s) will be gratefully acknowledged in the film's credits and on the film's website. For more information, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fourth Wall Films, owned by Kelly and Tammy Rundle, is a film and video productin company specializing in historical documentaries for public television broadcast and DVD home video. The Rundle's received a regional Emmy nomination for their documentary Country School: One Room - One Nation, and have received numerous awards for their documentary film series Lost Nation: The Ioway 1,2&3, and Villisca: Living with a Mystery. Their much anticipated documentary Movie Star: The Secret Lives of Jean Seberg (co-produced with Garry McGee) will be released in November 2013. They are currently in production on the documentaries Hero Street and River to River: Iowa's Forgotten Highway 6.
Filmmakers Kelly & Tammy Rundle, Fourth Wall Films.
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