'Wild Faith' film wrapped in Michigan on a loud, proud note

Shane Hagedorn and Martez Moore on set 'Wild Faith'
Shane Hagedorn and Martez Moore on set 'Wild Faith'
LANSING, Mich. - May 7, 2017 - PRLog -- Dozens of blackpowder rifle rounds going off; eerie smoke-filled woods shading a blue sky and sunshine; earth-shaking ground explosions taking down soldiers, both black and white men; ear-drum piercing cannon fire; hand-to-hand combat; 'Rebel yells'; the haunting wails of the wounded and dying, many of them mere boys; and, the shrillness of the bullhorn commands, 'Action!' and 'Cut!'

    Indeed, it was 'another day at the office' for the cast and crew of production company Collective Development Inc. (CDI) of Lansing, Mich. But it was more, as the final day of shooting on the faith-based feature film, 'Wild Faith,' unfolded late last November.

    For three CDI friends, producers/actors/writers/directors – DJ Perry, Anthony Hornus and Dean Teaster – filming this crucial Civil War battle scene brought them full-circle from the 2002 release of the independent Civil War epic, 'Wicked Spring,' winner of Best Action film at the LA and New York International Film Festivals.

    "I'm so proud of everyone involved with this important pick-up filming day on Wild Faith," said Perry, CEO of CDI, supervising producer on Wild Faith, as well as a supporting actor. "These flashback battle scenes (which haunt one of the lead characters, Emmett, played by Shane Hagedorn) are powerful. Almost all of the Civil War re-enactors I communicate with, even the younger guys, have seen or at least heard of Wicked Spring. I think that played a part in these men bringing their 'A' game to the shoot," added Perry, who was a producer and lead actor in Wicked Spring.

    Hornus, a Co-Producer and actor in both Wicked Spring and Wild Faith, was in charge of re-enactor 'recruitment.'

    "Things started slow as I started making inquries around the state for quality re-enactors; those men who could get out there and physically sell the skirmish in the woods," recalls Hornus. "Most re-enactor units were done, at least in Michigan, with  their season of re-enactments and encampments, so that complicated matters. But just briefly."

    Director Jesse Low, during pre-production planning, voiced the need for 40-50 re-enactors to bring the scenes to life (and depict the violent reality of war).

    Said Hornus, "As I continued to call around and get a bit of interest, tinged with skepticism because of the physicality of a film shoot as opposed to much lower-key re-enactments, this guy would tell me to call that guy and so on. Soon we were on our way. A big thanks goes to living historians like Ben Cwayna, Marty Bertera, Geoff Blair, Maurice Imhoff, Tommy Spanski, John Fross, John Vohlken, Charles Johnson, John Hughes and our old friend Will Eichler (who was steadi-cam operator on Wicked Spring and is now B camera and steadi-cam operator on NBC's Chicago P.D. series)."

    Besides the Confederate force in Wild Faith, which was fielded entirely by the 12th South Carolina/4th Michigan Volunteer Infantry and the main Federal force, supplied by the 15th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, Company B, the production needed an even taller order.

    Billed as "An Interracial Little House On the Prairie," the film required an all African-American federal unit (commanded by white officers) in which John (played by powerful Detroit-based actor Martez Moore) was a member.

    Explained Hornus, "Maurice Imhoff was the first member of the 102nd United States Colored Troops, Company B (a real African-American unit, mustered in Detroit, which fought valiantly in the Civil War, much like the 'Colored Troops' portrayed in 'Glory'), to return my inquiry. He directed me to Geoff Blair, the group's 2nd Sgt., from Lansing. That's when I knew the day was gonna be special."

    Added to the infantry forces, Captain John Hughes brought his Robinson's Confederate cannon battery to the fight from Battle Creek. "We actually had our cannons cleaned and stored for winter, but we weren't gonna miss an opportunity like this," said Hughes.

    Sixty-eight (68) re-enactors turned out for the filming. They represented 38 cities from around Michigan, four cities in Ohio (the furthest away being 290 miles) and one from Mishawaka, Ind.).

    Several of the re-enactors had extensive experience in film, having worked on Gettysburg, Gods and Generals, and many TV shows.

    "The re-enactor ranks are vast, but tight-knit," explained Hornus. "Once word got out on social media, thru emails etc. that movie recruiting was underway, we were turning people away."

    Concluded Hornus, "One thing DJ, me and Dean (Teaster, who played a Union soldier in Wicked Spring and is associate producer and plays Preacher Collins in Wild Faith) knew about Civil War re-enactors from experience is that they are meticulous about historical accuracy. That includes uniforms, weapons, how they conduct themselves. It's a producer's/wardrober's/director's dream."

     Another highlight of the day came during lunch.

    99-year-old Irene M Cox Hosking, the location property owner, who was a U.S. Army nurse serving in the Pacific Theater during World War II, was introduced to the troops, many of them veterans.

    The applause and shouts of 'Thank You Irene!!' from cast and crew, put a broad smile on her face.

    She enjoyed lunch, taking photos with the re-enactors, then was given a 'gator' ride out to the set, where she watched several minutes of filming.

    Another day at the office, the final day of photography in this upcoming CDI offering, resulted in a lot of fun, a lot of work, renewals of old friendships, forging new ones, honoring a WWII female veteran, and getting to fire vintage rifles, pistols and cannons.

    Wild Faith will premiere this fall.

Collective Development Inc.
Tags:Civil War, Faith Film, Wild Faith
Location:Lansing - Michigan - United States
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