Le Claire, IA, July 10, 2014: Le Claire, Iowa-based Autumn Leaf Productions, is launching an Indiegogo campaign to produce a comprehensive documentary on President Abraham Lincoln's tomb and monument in Springfield, IL. In March the Lincoln Monument Association board voted to authorize owner, Chris Ryder, to produce the documentary.
Autumn Leaf will have access to the LMA archives, including photos that have never been publicly displayed, in addition to the support from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.
“The timing is perfect for the 150th anniversary in 2015 of President Lincoln's death”, said Autumn Leaf Owner/Filmmaker Chris Ryder. “There is a wealth of activity happening in Springfield next year. When you factor in the number of Lincoln enthusiasts across the country, it made complete sense to look at the bigger picture in regard to this documentary.”
Mary Todd Lincoln insisted her husband's wish was to be buried in a quiet, remote setting. This was a new trend at a time when most cemeteries were developed inside cities.
Immediately there was opposition to Mrs. Lincoln by those who preferred the body either remain in Washington, D.C. or in downtown Springfield for tourism purposes. Ultimately Mrs. Lincoln's wishes prevailed, but it would be some time before Mr. Lincoln's body would be at peace.
From conception of the tomb to final interment, Mr. Lincoln's body would be placed in several graves and ultimately moved 14 times. After a thwarted attempt to steal the body, the casket would later be encased 10 feet below ground in steel and concrete.
“There is so much history encapsulated in the tomb's 12 1⁄2 acres of property”, explains LMA President Pam VanAlstine. “From the architecture, statues, gifts from state and foreign dignitaries, to the commotion of the attempted theft, we have a lot of story to tell. There were millions of Americans who mourned the president on his funeral train route in 1865. To this day we see thousands of visitors each year who are emotionally moved when they visit the tomb. President Lincoln's legacy continues to grow.”
Oak Ridge cemetery is the second most visited cemetery in the United States, next to Arlington National Cemetery.
Ryder will serve as producer and director. His production partner, Don Hertz, is executive producer and technical editor. Together they have previously collaborated on projects for PBS, ESPN, TLC, and VERSUS in addition to numerous corporate promotional videos, music videos, and national television commercials.
Indiegogo backers will receive a one-time printing of a 150th commemorative edition of the DVD or Blu-ray paired with a CD of the documentary soundtrack. The soundtrack will contain original recordings of period-appropriate music, led by Nashville recording artist and producer Jeb Hart. There will also be opportunities to fund re-enactment scenes and obtain reserved tickets for the premiere screening and reception in Springfield.
Ryder adds, “When my role is complete, the entire rights to the production will be gifted to the Lincoln Monument Association, so all subsequent copies will raise money for the association and preservation of the tomb. I want this production to be a mini-endowment of sorts for the LMA.”
The campaign begins on July 10, 2014 and will run for 30 days.