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  • Courtesy
    Windsong's new film, "1816," traces the history of Indiana. Volunteers filmed around the state, including at the Old Fort in Fort Wayne.

  • Courtesy
    Windsong's new film, "1816," traces the history of Indiana.
December 14, 2016 9:30 AM

Spotlight: Michael Floyd, Windsong Pictures '1816'

Corey McMaken | The Journal Gazette

Local production company Windsong Pictures Inc. spent several years tracing Indiana history for its new film, "1816," which has been endorsed by the Indiana Bicentennial Commission. It will be screened for free at 7 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Sunday at The History Center, 302 E. Berry St.

Executive Producer Michael Floyd answered a series of questions via email. The responses have been edited.

Q. I imagine there is a wealth of information to sift through to find the best bits for the film. What was the research like?

A. I have several degrees with one of them in history. Back in my day we took Indiana History in 8th grade. I always found it exciting and fascinating to understand the history of Indiana especially the 18th and 19th centuries. The research aspect of any film is exciting to me. It is exploring the past to uncover the little known aspects of life in years gone by, and hopefully that excitement of adventure in discovering the past rubs off on the students who we work with through Windsong Pictures. Ideally it would be great if it sparks interest for the people who experience the film. Research online is quick, and we can jump from one idea to the next rapidly. However, my favorite research always remains in books. The Allen County Public Library has a terrific set of books just about the Indiana Bicentennial. You used the word wealth which is a great word – indeed there is a wealth of information. The tough task is deciding what do we use and what not to use. The film could be much longer, but my notion is always that "The mind can absorb what the posterior can endure."

Q. Where in the area did you shoot?

A. We filmed all over the state. We divided the state into regions and set out on treks of a day and sometimes multiple days to capture Indiana history. In northeast Indiana we shot in Fort Wayne, Auburn, Angola, Garrett, South Bend, New Carlisle, LaGrange, Kendallville Columbia City, Churubusco, New Haven, Bluffton, Berne, Grabill and more... Often times we would combine the filming in an area with a festival or a special event. In Columbia City for example there was a Native American Pow Wow.

We also filmed outside of Indiana to capture a broader picture of what happened. For example the Erie Canal was also in Ohio. Fort Detroit was key during the Revolutionary War bringing Henry Hamilton and the British troops to Fort Sackville in Vincennes. George Rogers Clark was in Illinois at the time, but returned to take Sackville and capture Hamilton. Lincoln was born on Sinking Springs Farm in what is now Hodgenville, Kentucky and came to Indiana in December of 1816. They lived in a lean to that winter in southern Indiana. Thousands of slaves passed through Kentucky to Indiana and used the underground railroad to make their way to Canada. Fox Lake was known as the African American lake near Angola. Some of the famous Buffalo Soldiers used to visit the lake entertaining children with their stories of adventure - this tied into South Dakota and North Dakota. Indiana Civil War soldiers fought in battles in the east and south, so we visited those places to film and more...

Q. You've said the cast and crew includes 18,000 people. Are those mostly volunteers?

A. The number 18,000 is conservative – everyone involved with Windsong Pictures is a volunteer.

Q. What was the most interesting thing you learned about Indiana history while producing the film?

A. Oh my, there are so many interesting things. For example I was aware the Confederate Morgan crossed the Ohio River in 1863 to raid Corydon. It was the only official Civil War battle in the state - it was very short lived. However in our travels we discovered that there was an invasion of Indiana in 1862 at Newburgh. There was no battle - just a rag tag bunch that crossed the Ohio River and plundered the town for supplies. There were about 80-some Union troops there who were recovering from wounds – no real opposition – no shots fired.

The number of celebrities from Indiana is very impressive along with famous athletes. How about this one: the numbers puzzle Sudoku was developed by Hoosier Harold Garnes from Connersville. Culligan Water Conditioning began in the basement of Emmet Culligan who lived in the Foster Park area of Fort Wayne... and there is more.

Q. Is there an area of Indiana history you think people most overlook?

A. We traveled to most of the state parks. This is the 100th anniversary of Indiana State Parks. They are a rich treasure of pleasure in the state and carry a wealth of history. There are so many little things all over the state that are fascinating.

Q. What do you think Indiana and Fort Wayne will look like in 2116?

A. I am not good at predicting the future, but I hope that people will not forget where we have come from. There and so many who have made enduring sacrifices for all of us to enjoy the freedom and rich heritage we have inherited.

I pray that in 2116 Hoosiers will embrace the increasing cultural diversity that we are blessed with, and that everyone can live in peace.

Q. Aside from the History Center showings, how will the film be available? Is it scheduled to show anywhere else?

A. We are in the process of working on scheduling other screenings. There are many schools that are interested in using the film as a teaching tool as well.

cmcmaken@jg.net