Friday, April 27, 2012

Lack of funds stalls 'Agnes' Project

Cash sought to produce Hurricane Agnes film


The Times Leader
December 27, 2011

By Sheena Delazio Weiss
Times Leader Staff Writer

The Times Leader - Dec. 27, 2011
WILKES-BARRE - With thousands of supporters and a host of footage and photos of the Agnes flood of 1972, a small group of volunteers hoping to produce a documentary of the flood is now struggling to find a way to make the dream happen.

Alan Stout, executive producer of the hopeful documentary, said that an application for a grant for the project from the Pennsylvania Humanities Council was denied. That leaves the group of volunteers little cash to actually produce the film - which they had hoped to debut in June 2012 - and asking the public for help.

"We have raised about $4,000 from local legislators and Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs," Stout said. "It's a long way from the goal of our original thought. We are at a crossroads, and we feel the public needs to know that."

Stout, who is employed with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of The Bridge, has been working on the project for the past 18 months with Tony Brooks, executive director of the Luzerne County Historical Society; Richard Briggs, who has worked with the Public Broadcasting System; Anthony Mussari, a former professor at King's College and award-winning filmmaker; and Frank Pasquini, former director of capital resources for the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry.

The Agnes flood inundated several towns along the Susquehanna River in 1972, when the river reached 40.91 feet. Stout said local legislators Lisa Baker, John Yudichak and Eddie Day Pashinski have made donations to the project, and that four local television stations have offered all Agnes flood footage on file. The group also has support from 5,000 Facebook followers on its social networking page and has received hundreds of photos from supporters.

"We decided the project has too much historical and educational value to abandon it," Stout said. "But the project is in danger."

He said the documentary would be about 90 minutes in length and include liceenced film from the major networks and licensed music. The plan, Stout said, would be to show the film to area schools and have a premier at the F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre. The film would cost somewhere near $75,000 to complete, Stout said, and with only $4,000 accumulated thus far, the new goal of the group is to just finish the project.

"This is disappointing for us." Stout said. "This is not something that would have value only in 2012 (for the 40th anniversary of the flood), but a definitive historical documentation of the flood that has a value to generations to come."

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Want to help? To donate, visit www.agnes1972.com or www.facebook.com/agnes72 Or, call the Luzerne County Historical Society at 570-823-6244.

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