Devin Nuhfer, an aspiring local film maker, is planning to produce a short pilot film with the premise that the South won the Civil War. The story is set in both the 1860s and the 1960s, using color and black and white to mesh the two periods, and is titled "The Confederation."
Speaking about the storyline, he said, "The Confederate States of America is struggling with various problems, both at home and abroad. They invaded Cuba in the 1950's but it became their version of Vietnam. At home there is a continuing debate as to the role of the 'servant' population, where servant is the politically correct term for slave." In dealing with alternate history, he added "The Confederation deals with the Butterfly Effect, which states that small alterations can have big, and unexpected outcomes. The point of divergence between our history and the Confederation's history isn't a Civil War battlefield, but the battle of Puebla in Mexico. In our timeline, the Mexicans won the battle against the French on May 5, 1862, hence the origin of Cinco de Mayo. In the Confederation timeline the French win the battle, causing a chain of events that indirectly affect the outcome of the American Civil War."
The 10- to 15-minute pilot, or proof of concept, would be filmed with volunteers for cast and crew as a vehicle to seek funding for possibly six to eight episodes in the future. Each episode would be approximately 30 to 45 minutes long, and staff members would be paid. Nuhfer estimates that three episodes would cost about $100,000, a shoestring budget compared to network or Hollywood productions that cost millions of dollars for a similar length film.
The finished films would be marketed on the Internet, through sites like Amazon. He is in the process of completing paperwork for a limited liability corporation as a part of his fundraising efforts.
When the pilot demonstration is finished, it will be presented online to launch a kickstart campaign. The campaign would be similar to some Public Broadcast System fundraisers, where different levels of donations would earn gifts such as hats, t-shirts, DVDs, and the like. He acknowledged that this will be a difficult task. Contacting independent filmmakers' websites may also help raise the money.
Only a small number of volunteers for the pilot will be needed, as Nuhfer will be the co-producer, director, and cameraman with his sister Danielle filling in as co-producer as needed. An audio person will be needed to use a boom microphone, as well as a production assistant to move things along. For the initial cast, he said "There are three main characters: an older politician, one Confederate officer who is suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome, and a female sergeant that assists the officer; and a few extras to flesh out the scenes." Auditions for the actors will be held Sunday, April 7 in the Friends Room of the Struthers Library Theater.
Anyone interested in participating could stop by during the auditions, email Nuhfer at email@example.com, or visit the website theconfederationseries.com.
He is hoping to start filming in late April or early May, as he is still in the process of acquiring clearances for filming locations.
Nuhfer has a degree in history from Edinboro University, and is working on his master's degree in electronic media from Kutztown University. His thesis for the degree is copyrighting as related to film. He graduated from Eisenhower Middle/High School in 2006. His experience in filmmaking includes producing a short film while in college about a political pundit and public perceptions.