As an update to the Association concerning the Sultana documentary project, we want to again extend our profound thanks for your donations and support that helped our Kickstarter campaign not only reach but exceed its goal. The final tally was 930 backers with a total pledged of $108,156., which was 144% of our goal.
In the next ten and one-half months we will finish the documentary in time for its world premiere which will take place Monday night, April 27, 2015 at a major theater in Memphis. We want to encourage everyone to plan your reunion weekend to include staying an extra day or two if you are able in order to attend the premiere. There were several reasons for selecting that date. First, it will mark exactly one hundred and fifty years since the disaster. We even thought about having the premiere at 2:00 that morning but didn’t feel like being that literal would be appreciated! Second, having the premiere on a week night will hopefully help us get the theater we want and the documentary deserves (you’ll really like it). We’ll keep you posted on that development. And third, we have always enjoyed and appreciated the flow of the reunion weekend events and want to preserve that structure for this very special Sesquicentennial reunion.
While we realize the extra day or two may be a hardship for those who can’t plan an extended time away from home or work, we hope the premiere might be the perfect excuse to take that extra time to enjoy the Marion/Memphis area while remembering the Sultana.
In the process of finishing the documentary, we will also be approaching several distribution companies that will assist us in placing the video in various media outlets such as PBS, various cable channels like the History Channel, on-line venues for video-on-demand through the internet, and other newly-emerging technologies we are currently researching. We also plan to offer the documentary, in both basic and expanded versions, through on-line shopping networks like Amazon as well as in the gift shops of the National Park Service battlefields and other Civil War-related stores and groups.
In addition to finishing the video, we will be preparing a curriculum for school students in at least the upper elementary, middle school, and high school grades which we hope, along with the documentary, to get into schools across the nation. We will also be fulfilling the 900+ rewards associated with the Kickstarter campaign. On top of all that, we intend to pursue all avenues related to moving the documentary to the next level, a major motion picture.
So, it will be a very busy time, but one we’ve been preparing for since 2002 when we began planning the documentary. We are motivated and tremendously excited, but all of that is tempered by a realization of the great responsibility we have to be true to the story and, above all, to honor the memories of all those connected to the disaster. We are also very cognizant of the promise we made to the Association of Sultana Descendants and Friends from the beginning of our project; that being to tell the story the way it should be told – truthfully, unadorned, and with the utmost respect. We have been privileged to meet and know many members of the Association and you have made it very easy and enjoyable to fall in love with the Sultana story. We just want to make sure the love and passion you have shown to us shine through in the finished film.Thank each of you for allowing us to be associated with this wonderful group and this amazing story. We’ll see you in Marion next April!
– Mike and Mark Marshall, Co-producers