Filmmakers want to spotlight Dover’s 300th anniversary

 

From left, Nathan Cronk, Brian Harvath and Andy Ryan, of Big River Film Co., are hoping to get funding in order to produce a short film celebrating the city of Dover’s 300th anniversary. (Delaware State News/Mike Finney)

DOVER — Nathan Cronk and Brian Harvath, of Big River Film Co. at 117 West Reed Street, are hoping they get the chance to make a film about Dover that will stand the test of time — 300 years, to be exact.

It is their goal that they will get the chance to hear from the community to find out what’s best about Dover and to put it down permanently on film in celebration of the city’s 300th anniversary this year.

“I’m pretty excited,” said Mr. Harvath, producer and director of photography for Big River Film Co. “I think it’s a pretty ambitious project. It’s probably one of our more ambitious to date.

“I think we’re really interested in creating something great that really helps to bolster the downtown area.”

Mr. Cronk and Mr. Harvath stopped by the conference room at City Hall on Wednesday to make a presentation on their proposed project to Dover’s Economic Development Committee.

They are seeking $8,000 in seed funding for their business to help launch production of what is estimated to be a $20,000 short film project on Dover during its 300th anniversary celebration.

Unfortunately, only two members of the Economic Development Committee — Mayor Robin Christiansen and Greg Moore, president of the Downtown Dover Partnership — showed up for Wednesday’s meeting.

Mayor Christiansen told Mr. Cronk and Mr. Harvath they will probably have to make their presentation at the City Council of the Whole Meeting on April 25.

Mr. Cronk, director and lead producer for Big River Films, is just hoping the city helps fund a film project that he believes will capture milestone moments in Dover’s long history.

Ideally, he would like to begin shooting the film with events at the 84th Old Dover Days Festival, which will take place May 5-7.

“We’re looking at having somebody who represents the past, somebody who represents the current and somebody who represents the future,” said Mr. Cronk, about his vision for the project. “We’re not exactly sure what that’s going to look like yet.

“Once we get the project funded then we can move forward with figuring out exactly who those people are and what roles they’ll fit into.”

Perhaps the most difficult part of the project will be trying to squeeze 300 years of history into a seven- or eight-minute film.

“We’ve spent a lot of time and a lot of resources on the front end of the project, knowing what the story is that we’re going to tell before we try to tell it,” said Mr. Cronk. “That really is the hardest part and where the most work goes in.

“The hope is that by the time we film it and get into the editing process we know what we’re going for and we’re not trying to make it fit. Hopefully, we’re just able to bring our vision to life.”

Big River Film Company’s goal in threefold: to represent Dover in a fresh and new way, to highlight the rich history of the city and to invite the viewer to become a part of the story that is happening in Dover in its’ 300th year.

That will help make the film its own sort-of time capsule for the city to treasure.

Mr. Cronk said there have been preliminary discussions among some city officials about possibly showing the film at a proposed New Year’s Eve celebration, complete with fireworks and a ball-dropping.

That is all very preliminary, he cautioned, as his film company is still trying to receive funding.

“I think showing this film at a New Year’s Eve celebration would be great,” he said. “What better way to end the 300th year than with a huge bash in the cold weather?”

The Big River Film Co. has worked with Downtown Dover in developing its brand in recent years, producing videos which show all the small businesses and charm the area has to offer.

That is important to Mr. Harvath.

“It’s nice,” he said. “It’s a small community and also the community that I grew up, so I have a lot of memories here as a kid.

“I know trying to revive the downtown area is something that a lot of people are really interested in so we want to help out.”

Getting the 300th anniversary project for Dover funded is more than just developing a short film for Mr. Cronk and Mr. Harvath.

“Our hope if we get fully funded is to spend ad-spend dollars behind it and to push it out on Facebook and YouTube,” Mr. Cronk said “That way it can be seen be potentially anybody on the East Coast to learn more about Dover and to get excited about what all we have to offer in this town.

“Our (Facebook) posts were received very well. We got a lot of people talking online about how great Dover was, and especially the downtown area, so that was good.”

Helping promote downtown is important to Big River Films.

After all, it decided to make the area its home.

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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