Filmmaker to re-create Quantrill’s raid in docu-drama
Ken Spurgeon doesn’t want people to just know about William Quantrill’s 1863 raid in Lawrence; he wants them to deeply feel it.
Spurgeon, executive director of Lone Chimney Films, is making “Bloody Dawn: The Lawrence Massacre,” about the local raid during the Civil War.
On Friday, he spent most of the day in Lawrence filming at the Miller House, 1111 E. 19th St., and at Oak Hill Cemetery, 1605 Oak Hill Ave.
“I believe this story is the most unique story in the Civil War,” he said. “People were murdered for just being at home.”
The beginning of the movie, a docu-drama, will feature historians explaining the situation that Lawrence was in during the war – a free state recently admitted to the union.
The movie then will break from narration, and the massacre will be re-enacted. In the third and final part of the movie, the narrator and historians will analyze what happened.
Spurgeon said he thought it was important to re-enact the massacre.
“I don’t want to alienate education and children, but I’ve battled on how to tell you this was death and destruction to the worst order,” he said.
Spurgeon is worried people don’t understand that Quantrill’s raid was really an example of terrorism.
“We don’t have any idea what war is,” he said. “It hasn’t been on this land since then. It’s political jargon, not life.”
He explained a docu-drama can be risky, if the history is not re-enacted exactly as it occurred. Spurgeon, however, believes he’s covered his bases by putting historians on set.
Spurgeon, who now lives in Andover, was particularly interested in Quantrill’s raid because he had relatives who lived in Lawrence at one time. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history, but he doesn’t have a long background in film.
He believes “Bloody Dawn” will make a big impact once it debuts this fall in small theaters.
“My own crew has been affected by what they have seen,” he said. “I think people should be moved by this story.”