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Ripley filming documentary about courthouse’s history

Nelson Fisher, Dave Broom, Clarita Fisher and Suzette Lowe are actors in the Ripley documentary “Trials, Tragedies & Triumphs.” (Photo Provided)

RIPLEY — In celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the Jackson County Courthouse, the Ripley Convention and Visitors Bureau is creating and showing a documentary titled “Trials, Tragedies & Triumphs.”

Each person involved with the documentary is a local or native Jackson County resident, according to Mike Ruben from the Ripley CVB.

The documentary is made up of three components: the narrators, the people who were affiliated with the courthouse and the nonspeaking actors portraying the events.

J. J. and Jeana Mahan, twins from Ripley who are pursuing acting in Los Angeles, recorded the narrations. They had worked on another documentary for the county that was about the last public execution for the state of West Virginia which took place in Ripley.

“It was neat to use them again,” Ruben said.

The Heritage House cabin at Cedar Lakes was utilized for some of the older scenes for the documentary. Clarita and Nelson Fisher work on a scene with director Carson Broom and Conner Isner. (Photo Provided)

The documentary focuses on a trial that took place in 1933 involving the murder of a deputy, former President George W. Bush’s appearance during their 4th of July event in 2002, a triumph, and the tragedy of a man falling to his death during the construction of the building.

Filming started last fall and is now complete. All the actors and locations were local, Ruben said.

As far as using areas to depict the appropriate time period “we just had to improvise,” Ruben said. “For a lot of the early scenes, we used the old cabin at Cedar Lakes.”

The Alpine Theatre in Ripley will debut the documentary on Sunday, March 15.

“As the demand goes, we’ll schedule more appearances. There’s a lot of interest in local history. We’re going to give a copy to the Ripley and Ravenswood libraries and to the schools. If people want to purchase the copies, they’ll be able to,” Ruben said.

Candice Black can be reached at cblack@newsandsentinel.com.

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