South Carolina businessman presents historic Civil War drama

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Union troops engage rebels at Ebenezer Creek, Georgia

Film producer Walter Czura poses with cast members at the premier

Film producer Walter Czura (center) shown with the cast at the premiere of the Poison Peach Film Festival in Augusta, Georgia.

“Sherman’s March to the Sea”, a 92-minute film is a story based on historical facts, not a documentary.

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA, USA, Feb. 11, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — Walter Czura, a businessman from Hilton Head Island, SC, entered the film industry by recently creating an independent feature film, “Sherman’s March to the Sea”, a historical drama filmed in South Carolina and South Georgia. The legendary Imperial Theater here in downtown Augusta presented the film at the Poison Peach Film Festival where it received a warm reception. The film is currently being finalized for delivery to a California film distributor.

Czura, who describes himself as a history buff, has had a long career in grassroots business, having founded Marlin Outdoor Advertising more than 40 years ago. Today, he is considered one of the most successful billboard entrepreneurs in the Southeast with over 1,000 locations along highways and freeways in South Carolina and Georgia.

“I’m very excited about my new venture because of my love of movies and Civil War history,” Czura said. “I had been seriously considering getting into the film industry for some time, so I decided to start a film company, Fortress Films, and then look for someone who could handle making a film.”

Czura has cast veteran filmmaker and Augusta native Christopher Forbes to helm the 92-minute, estimated $1.25 million film project. Forbes has developed 38 commercial films which have been distributed as DVDs for direct sale in chain stores or, more recently, via streaming platforms.

“Sherman’s March to the Sea” is a historical drama, not a documentary. Its plot follows the often brutal month-long military campaign that was engineered by General Sherman to end the Civil War by terrifying the civilian population of the region into abandoning the Confederate cause. Instead, he embittered Southerners for generations thereafter.

Czura serves as both executive producer and co-writer, and after recruiting Forbes, he took on the responsibility of doing all script research and plot development. The two then collaborated on final sequencing and script writing while Forbes recruited the actors and other participants needed to bring the film to life.

“I spent several months late at night sifting through historical documents and old books to find true anecdotes during Sherman’s march that would be compelling to the script,” Czura said. “We then created a series of vignettes that would continue the storyline and effectively reveal the intense emotion of the Sherman campaign from a perspective balanced between four distinct groups: the two opposing armies, plus the civilians living along the march’s path, and slaves who were freed along the way.

History books document that there were over 60,000 federal soldiers and nearly 10,000 freed slaves spread over 60 miles wide who crossed Georgia to the sea at a rate of six to 10 miles a day. Czura points out that “Sherman’s army covered over 280 miles in five weeks, but unfortunately there were also roving gangs called ‘bummers’ who followed the march and took advantage of the chaos by attacking and looting individual farms and even small towns.”

To set the tone for the campaign, Forbes recruited more than 500 re-enactors to stage most of the fight and march scenes. The director explained that the film “hopes to do more than just entertain, but also educate audiences so they have a better understanding of the human trauma that affected entire communities in southern Georgia and then the Carolinas during this time.” .

The slaves, newly freed by Union troops, play an important role in the film as they follow the battalions of soldiers pushing towards the Atlantic Ocean. And, as Czura points out, “those slaves ended up becoming America’s first freedom march.”

Nevertheless, there was a tragically compelling incident at Ebenezer Creek near present-day Rincon, Georgia, where Federal troops, fearing for their own safety, raised a pontoon bridge, leaving behind nearly 100 newly freed slaves who drowned trying to cross the creek. .

Vignettes from the film effectively carry Czura’s storyline to its conclusion on the outskirts of Savannah, where General Sherman sent a December 23, 1864 telegram to President Abraham Lincoln: “I beg you to present as a Christmas present the town of Savannah.

Czura is already looking forward to his next movie to be held here in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina with a bigger budget that will support more better-known actors.

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