GALLIPOLIS — WOUB filmmaker Evan Shaw has been finishing up filming for his Emmy Award-winning series Our Town, which is next set to feature Gallipolis with its free premiere and public screening slated to be held at Gallia Academy High School at 3 p.m., March 22.
“Each year, we pick a different city that we want to do. We started looking around the map in April or May (2019) and we realized Gallipolis has such a unique history in the region,” said Shaw, “with the French and as the second oldest city in Ohio. There’s a lot of untapped history down there that people in the region don’t know and I think need to know. Once we started digging a bit deeper, we realized it’s an obvious choice.”
Shaw is noted to have brought home 13 Emmy Awards.
Shaw said the documentary would begin its focus in prehistoric times when the glaciers of North America started to move and sculpt landscapes. It would then focus on Native American tribes and on settlers to the area.
“We do bring it into the modern day and talk a little bit about what the town is like now,” said Shaw. “We want to make a historical film but we also want people to know this is a thriving community and somewhere people should spend their time… We will cover things like Gallipolis in Lights, the historical society, the Our House (Museum) and things like that.”
“We’ve got about 10 interviews, one or two to wrap up, and then a bunch of B-roll and gathering historical photographs,” said Shaw. “Most of the research is done. I’m in full on production mode, editing and writing scripts at one in the morning.”
The film will air on WOUB following its premiere at GAHS on March 23.
Shaw said that among personalities interviewed for the series included Gallia Chamber of Commerce Volunteer Marianne Campbell and Steve Evans of the Bob Evans family.
“We’re going to include somethings about Bevo Francis and the college at Rio Grande,” said Shaw. “The film is focused on Gallipolis but if something like Bevo Francis happens in the county we’re going to talk about it. We spoke with Grandma Gatewood’s granddaughter. We’ve also spoken with Edna Whiteley who is an expert on O.O. McIntyre.”
Shaw also anticipates to include lesser known stories of individuals from the area such as 1900s Journalist Arthur Harding, the founder of Fur-Fish-Game magazine which is still being published today.
“Albert Stewart was a past passenger onboard the Titanic,” said Shaw of another historical Gallia resident. “There are a lot of the little stories I like to tell to complement the things like Grandma Gatewood and O.O. McIntyre.”
Grandma Gatewood is known for being the first woman to cross the entirety of the Appalachian Trail and O.O. McIntyre was known for being the highest paid columnist of his day in the 1920s and 1930s across the country.
“This will be the seventh film we’ve produced,” said Shaw. “I have a staff of students and grad students as well as full-time staff with me on this project… What I love about this project is I grew up in Meigs so I’m from the area and really enjoy this kind of thing because it’s a chance to showcase who we are (in southeast Ohio).”
WOUB is asking individuals to register for the event at https://form.jotform.com/200305060111127
Dean Wright is a staff writer with Ohio Valley Publishing and can be reached at 740-446-2342.