Through the Lens of History: Ogeechee History International Film Festival

By Sarah Napier

Come experience Statesboro’s historic and charming downtown at the Ogeechee International History Film Festival. On March 24-25, 2017, the Averitt Center for the Arts in Statesboro, Georgia, will welcome filmmakers from around the world to showcase their historical documentaries and dramas. Because history film festivals have traditionally taken place in Europe, this cinema program is the first of its kind in the United States. According to filmmaker and festival founder, Michael Scott Van Wagenen, “Film is one of the primary ways Americans learn history today. A festival promoting and celebrating history films recognizes the important role these programs have played in our discipline.”

Thanks to video streaming sites, anyone can view history documentaries and dramas with the click of a mouse. But, how can you be sure that what you are viewing is historically accurate? The Ogeechee International History Film Festival, along with its board members, sponsors and participants, are devoted to promoting films that are factual and ensure the integrity of education through film. It is the hope of the Ogeechee International Film Festival to not only celebrate motion pictures, but also to teach the public about film and the importance it plays in our learning of the past.

The highlight of the festival will be the regional premier of Eric Stange’s Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive, which will broadcast later in the year as part of the PBS American Masters Series. Stange is an award-winning producer, director and writer, whose productions center on history topics such as the Berlin Wall, the French and Indian War, and socio-economic issues concerning health and poverty on the Marshall Islands. His work has been featured on the Discovery Channel, BBC, and other broadcast and cable networks.

When asked about the upcoming festival, Stange said, “As a filmmaker who specializes in historical topics, the intersection of film and history has always been important to me. In our screen-dominated age, film and television provide a portal into the past for millions of people, but it’s rare that filmmakers and historians get a chance to discuss the larger issues surrounding how we present history through visual imagery.”

Aside from Buried Alive, there will be a number of feature and short films screened on Saturday. Visitors will see the best of what Statesboro has to offer, as these film screenings will take place at two different locations. Not only will guests have the opportunity to watch films in the historic Emma Kelly Theater on March 24, they will also experience what it is like to be “True Blue” by attending screenings at the Georgia Southern University Russell Union Theater on March 25.

While film festivals celebrate filmmakers and their cinematic productions, this event is not restricted to people who are in the industry. The general public is encouraged to attend all events during this exciting weekend, including film screenings, panel discussions and other events. For those interested in learning more about film production, there will also be a question and answer session with Eric Stange and other filmmakers. An award ceremony and semi formal closing reception at the Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau will wrap up the weekend’s festivities.

Make Statesboro your choice for a weekend getaway this March and experience a fun and exciting event, celebrating both film and history. For more information on the Ogeechee International History Film Festival, please visit: or contact

Regan Everett at or 912-489-1869.
Film festival tickets are available through online purchase at