LIW DOC – Amazing Weekend In De Smet
What an amazing weekend we’ve had in De Smet, SD. It started with rain and snow on Friday and transformed into beautiful sunshine and cloudless skies on Sunday and Monday.
Over a four-day period we did recreations from multiple periods in Laura’s life — from childhood right up to her marriage to Almanzo Wilder. I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to my “Laura” friends Marian Cramer and Dr. Orval Van Deest, who oversaw the selection of thirty people from De Smet and its surrounding communities, who generously gave of themselves to be Laura, Mary, Carrie, Grace, Caroline and Charles Ingalls and of course Almanzo Wilder…they were the Boast’s and the Masters’, Mrs. Brewster, Cap Garland, Nellie Olsen/Stella Gilbert and Reverend Brown. They gave of themselves through long hours as we shot moment after moment from Laura’s LittIe House books. As I watched them all in their costumes I was genuinely moved knowing that each of them, in their own way have embraced Laura’s books and her legacy, as have millions and millions of people all over the world. I am not a particularly religious person but I can’t help but feel blessed by all these people and their willingness trust me and be there to help tell Laura’s story.
You couldn’t do this without the places to shoot. The Sullivan family (Tim, Joan, and their daughter Anne) at The Ingall’s Homestead and Cheryl Palmlund at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society provided all the locations, the costumes, and props, horses, wagons, and carriages that made it all work.
All these people put themselves in front of our camera and our director of photography, Derrick Robinson. As he did for me in Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura, Derrick got the shots. We didn’t plan to record a lot of dialog, but when we did Jeremy Chambers was right there to do it…he was also our grip and good humor man. Still photographer Derek Cecil came in from Madison, SD on Saturday and Sunday. He took great pictures of action going on in front of and behind the camera…he also lent a hand with equipment as the hours went on. Derrick, Jeremy and Derek are can-do guys…
We’ll finish here in De Smet today, but our LIW journey continues…in Walnut Grove and then for the next several months back in the editing room. I’ll keep you informed.