Don’t Give Up the Ship

By Terry Pentelli

We all learned about the War of 1812 in history class, but how much do we really know about the battle that took place right here on our own Lake Erie waters. Local filmmaker Kurt Sahlmann is currently in production of a documentary film depicting that significant and historic combat that now is considered one of the biggest naval battles of the War of 1812.

The Battle of Lake Erie, sometimes called the Battle of Put-in-Bay, was fought on September 10th 1813, in Lake Erie off the coast of Ohio during the War of 1812. Nine vessels of the United States Navy defeated and captured six vessels of Great Britain’s Royal Navy. This ensured American control of the lake for the rest of the war, which in turn allowed the Americans to recover Detroit and win the Battle of the Thames to break the Indian confederation of Tecumseh.

Now, almost 200 years later, Sahlmann, with the help of the very talented videographers and technical staff of Erie’s Cable Access Television station, will present this piece of not only American, but also Erie history as a celebration of the battle for its centennial anniversary.

Being a film and a television producer for more than seven years now, Sahlmann has worked with such organizations as Pittsburgh Entertainment Technology Project, Harborcreek Youth Services, Erie County Poet Laureate Project 2010 and the Erie Dawn Video series, to mention only a few.

As with any film, there are many people that contribute their time, energy and hard work to the completion of the film that some of us take for granted, focusing only on the fantastic final product we see on the silver screen. Sahlmann’s “Don’t Give Up the Ship – The Battle of Lake Erie” documentary is no different.

Among the many talented and dedicated people that are contributing to this historic masterpiece are Paul Moore, Roger Prehoda and Shawn Phelps the Executive Director of CATV, which is producing the film.

Erie’s Cable Access Television Station is a non-profit organization that is located at 142 West 12th Street and can be found on Channel 2 of your Time Warner cable system in the City of Erie.

Lead by Shawn Phelps, Community Access Television gives people and organizations the tools that they need to get their distinctive messages across to their targeted viewers.

Sahlmann’s film has a projected budget of around $101,500.00, most of which will be met with in-kind donations and sponsorships. The Eighty-eight minute film will feature battle reenactments along with historical presentations of Erie Commander Oliver Hazard Perry and will include others that were critical to the battle of Lake Erie and its success.

Although Sahlmann’s documentary has begun to film some of the footage, the film is not slated to be completed until sometime in 2013 and will be aired on both CATV and PBS.

Sahlmann hopes that his film will both educate and entertain everyone who watches the Documentary.

For more information on the film “Don’t Give Up the Ship – The Battle of Lake Erie” please their Facebook page.



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