Two documentaries — one about Paris and another about the Civil War Battle of Haguewood Prairie, which took place in 1863 near the Paris-Subiaco Municipal Airport —will be shown for the first time Saturday at the Paris Middle School Auditorium at 7 p.m.
There is no charge to attend. Those wishing to reserve seats should call the Paris Area Chamber of Commerce at 963-2244 to get on a list. If seats aren’t reserved, seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, according to Linda Hixson, executive director for the Paris Area Chmaber of Commerce.
Both films are produced by Ray Bertram and Blind Man’s Bluff Productions of Booneville. Both documentaries feature area residents and are about 45 minutes long. Between showings, musician and teacher Patrick Millard will perform. The concession stand just outside the auditorium will be open.
Bertram bills himself as the Blind Film Maker of Arkansas.
Bertram says he is not "seeing eye-dog blind" but he is legally blind because of a condition called optic neuropathy. He woke up one morning five years ago and could not see out of his left eye. Last summer he woke up and couldn’t see out of his right eye.
Bertram said he and his crew strive to produce top quality documentaries about towns, or facets of them, that are then exhibited on the Internet through YouTube.
"What we want to do is use today’s readily available technology, in conjunction with today’s easily accessible social media and make world class production videos about towns and communities that don’t have the budgets that those larger cities do," Bertram said. "Larger cities my spend tens or upwards of a hundred thousand dollars on productions that we provide smaller towns for free.
Rather than an attractive AETN broadcast reaching 30,000 to 50,000, Bertram said, through a viral video production, hundreds of thousands or even millions of people may see it.
The documentary about Paris is called The This Is Arkansas: Paris. A documentary on Waldron will be episode two and Hartford, Clarksville, and others, are on tap, too.
Blind Man’s Bluff has already completed a documentary about the Arkansas Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Booneville that is on the web on their YouTube channel called ThisIsArkansas. The organization operates largely on grants acquired by communities who enlist the studio to produce high quality documentaries that then become marketing tools through link postings and such.
"What we would ultimately like to do is apply for a sustainable state level grant and that way we could simply go into the communities as they approach us and as the need was shown and we can make those documentaries," Bertram said.