Middleton Place documentary premiers at Library Society

  • Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Middleton Place is the focus of a new documentary that will premier at the Charleston Library Society on Tuesday, Oct. 22. PHOTO PROVIDED

The grace and grandeur of Middleton Place continues to awe and inspire thousands of visitors each year. With the recent release of the documentary “Middleton Place: A Phoenix Still Rising,” many more people can experience the wonder of the gardens, house museum and plantation stableyards at the 272-year-old National Historic Landmark.

“Middleton Place: A Phoenix Still Rising” will have its Charleston premiere screening at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 22 at the Charleston Library Society, 164 King Street. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased by calling 800-838-3006 or online at the Library Society’s website, www.charlestonlibrarysociety.net. Middleton Place Foundation President Charles Duell will be on hand to introduce the film and field questions about the Middleton family, the historic landmark and the documentary.

The film relates the history of Middleton Place and the Middleton family from the early 18th century to the present. It combines remarkable video and historic documentation from the Middleton Place archives, with cogent narration by CBS News correspondent Martha Teichner and Charles Duell. Footage was collected in every season and at every event, and digital animation was added to bring the historic gardens to life.

“The goal was to produce a clear, concise story of Middleton Place, frame the plantation as a microcosm of American history and illustrate how its continued preservation and interpretation is vitally important to the story of the United States,” says Tracey Todd, vice-president of museums at the Middleton Place Foundation, and the producer of “A Phoenix Still Rising.” “Middleton Place is all about history, and this documentary shows that in riveting detail. Our shared history is seen through America’s oldest and most important landscaped gardens, the extraordinary family-owned objects in the house museum and the living history programs and heritage breed livestock in the plantation stableyards – all beautifully photographed in high-definition. We hope the documentary will compel viewers to visit and support the foundation’s mission of preservation and interpretation.”

The film was shot and edited by Sunhead Projects, a local video production company headed by Mark McKinney and Steve Lepre. McKinney and Lepre spent hours at the plantation documenting sunrises and sunsets, natural wildlife and stableyards livestock, historic re-enactments and items from the foundation’s collection. “We shot about 60 hours of footage and hundreds of photographs and scans from the Middleton archives,” McKinney says. “The footage that you see in the documentary is about 20 percent of the total. Telling the story of Middleton family history and the Middleton property was always exciting for us. In the film, you see and hear 300 years of history and evolution of Middleton Place in 28 minutes.”

“Middleton Place: A Phoenix Still Rising” will be available for purchase at the Oct. 22 screening at the Library Society. Copies are also available at the Middleton Place Museum Shop, the Middleton Place online store, and by instant digital download from Amazon.com.

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