HAMMOND | Lakes of the Four Seasons filmmaker Tre Manchester sought to bring the home-front struggles of the Civil War to life in the region debut of his short film Saturday.
About 80 people attended the viewing of his film — and a short documentary of its making — at the Region United, Nation Divided: Civil War in the South Shore exhibit at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond.
The seven-minute film, "To Ride the River," exhibits a mostly Northwest Indiana cast and crew and was filmed at Deep River County Park in Hobart and the LaPorte County Fairgrounds.
Manchester, 20, a second-year film student at the Illinois Institute of Art, said a big challenge to the film was making a Civil War-period movie — complete with authentic costumes and props — on a budget of less than $200.
But with the help of the Lake County-based 20th Indiana Infantry Company B re-enactment group, which acted in the movie for free, the low-budget efforts paid off.
Manchester's movie, which tells the story of a boy who must protect his family's land after his father dies in the Civil War, recently won an Audience Award from the Once a Week Online Film Festival.
Except for the main character, August, portrayed by Michigan's Gavin Clarke, Manchester relied on a mostly local cast, including August's sister, portrayed by Crown Point's Cally Kline.
"I'm a huge history buff and love anything set in the Civil War," Manchester said before the film viewing. "I like the pieces where people can be teleported to a different time."
The film viewing was one of several special events scheduled for the Welcome Center's Civil War exhibit, which uses hundreds of photos, narrative text, artifacts and flag reproductions to tell the story of the Northwest Indiana men and women who sacrificed during the nation's bloodiest war. As many as 2,000 people have visited the exhibit since it's April 6 opening.