The 30 minute pilot episode "clearly shows that the Philadelphia story goes beyond 1776," Sam Katz said.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Sam Katz and Phil Katz screened their pilot film, Philadelphia: The Great Experiment on November 30 at William Penn Charter School, 3000 School House Lane at 7 p.m. The screening was hosted in collaboration with the East Falls Community Council.
The film focuses on the period after the end of the Civil War in 1865 and up to and including the 1876 Centennial Exposition. The film is produced by Phil Katz.
The film opens with the funeral of Abraham Lincoln. The melancholy music sets the somber tone of the event. It tells how stores exhausted their supply of black bunting and how nearly 300, 000 people line the streets to see the procession of the funeral.
The film goes on to the story of the Pennsylvania Railroad, the building of city hall, the volunteer fire company, Octavius Catto, who was a black educator and civil rights activist, Caroline LeCount, the desegregation of the trolley car and many other stories.
The film uses a combination of story telling techniques including sketches, black and white photographs, movie clips, interviews by historians and personal accounts from diaries and letters.
After the screening, Sam Katz answered questions from the audience. Several attendees made positive comments about the film including one calling it "a fabulous and educational piece."
Someone asked "Why did they leave out the creation of Fairmount Park?" The reply was that they were trying to maintain a level of intensity- just the "goose bump moments."
Katz said the purpose of the film was to tell a story, do that successfully and to raise awareness.
"What we are trying to do is initiate a conversation about what we will be," Katz said.
I asked him how this project came back? He said he saw the movie on New York by Ric Burns, which last ed 14 hours. Later, he watched "Chicago: City of the Century," which was based on Donald Miller's book of the same title. Then, he wanted to see the movie on Philadelphia. He couldn't find it.
At least now, there is one. Unfortunately, it is only 30 minutes long. Ultimately, Katz said the goal is to create 7 one-hour episodes. They hope to create several eight to ten minutes of webisodes. For more information go to www.historyof philadelphia.com.
By Sue Ann Rybak and Jillian Horn
photo 1: Sam Katz and Phil Katz at the screening on November 30 at Penn Charter School in the Kurtz Center.
Posted by Sue Ann Rybak at 11:16 PM