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Documentary, "Timber: Dead and Down" to be broadcast on PBS

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The documentary, "Timber: Dead and Down" is being broadcast on PBS' Prairie Public on Wednesday, October 6 at 9 p.m., and again on Friday, October 8 at 3 a.m.

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The film chronicles a variety of perspectives on the Timber industry, specific to the Northern regions of Minnesota.

This documentary was created by a team from Northern Minnesota/Fargo, North Dakota, through the Becker County Historical Society, including Jeff Schlossman as Executive Producer, Carrie Johnston as Producer, Kirk Roos as Director, Tom Tollefson as Cinematographer, Chris Raguse, as Editor and Phil Kerr and Media Productions for Production and Support.

The documentary production began in 2006 when Schlossman was on the Board of Directors at the Becker County Historical Society, where he began interviewing people who knew the ins and outs of the history of logging in Becker County along the Ottertail River. From there Schlossman committed to finishing a feature documentary as a fundraiser for the organization, but hadn't yet realized the film would also double as a television broadcast program for PBS. Schlossman said of the project, "The story we did in 'Timber' is one I've wanted tell for a long time, a significant aspect of the history of this region, through the eyes of rugged loggers, who shaped the region as we know it. The thing I loved the most about this project, was the way we portrayed the loggers and their families, all based on true stories, but with the added Bunyan-esque heightened element of tall tales."

The team of producers, led by Kirk Roos came on in 2008 to create a program for PBS, and the DVD which is available online and in local stores. Then, in the fall of 2009, a premiere of the documentary took place in Detroit Lakes, with a large crowd of supporters, and was a great fundraiser for the organization. Carrie Johnston, then Executive Director of the historical society said "It was a success beyond our expectations; this program will be promoting the area for years to come."

The hour-long documentary that will air on PBS (Prairie Public) next week, features many regional talents and experts in the field including a Native American perspective and "tall tales" from the time period of 1860's to the end of the Modern Timber Era. The DVD also has exciting bonus features, including a story about the infamous "Standoff at Round Lake."

Director Roos added, "When portraying history, there's only so many facts and figures you can share in limited time; so we gave them color by creating fictional characters, from a real world that would shape the dramatic effect and intrigue of the story. The characters are based on stories of that time, journals and interviews we did. When you imagine their lives, it's not hard to understand their struggles."

To learn more about the project go to; www.beckercounthistory.org, or call the Becker County History Museum at 218-847-2938.

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