Due to pandemic, documentary on Gallipolis gets online premiere

ATHENS — A show about Gallipolis will debut online rather than in a theater, the producers said.

“Our Town: Gallipolis,” produced by WOUB Public Media, was originally scheduled to premiere on March 22 at Gallia Academy High School.

However, the show was canceled because of the recommendations of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio University President Duane Nellis to stop the spread of the virus.

“We had hoped to be able to wait to premiere the documentary at a time when it was safe to gather together at an event in Gallipolis,” said WOUB General Manager Mark Brewer. “But with all the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, we don’t think that will be able to happen any time soon. We don’t want to make the people of Gallipolis wait any longer to see this documentary.”

The free online screening will be held 6:30 p.m. Sept. 17. WOUB is using the virtual screening platform Online Viewing and Engagement Experience, or OVEE, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The site is https://bit.ly/3igs7aS.

Those interested in attending the free event should RSVP at https://bit.ly/OurTownRSVP.

“OVEE is used by many PBS programs and stations to screen their programs,” Community Engagement Manager Cheri Russo said. “The platform gives WOUB the ability to recreate as much of the in-person experience as possible, while keeping everyone safe at the same time.”

“Our Town: Gallipolis” is an hour-long documentary about the history of the Gallia County community. It examines many aspects and people of Gallipolis including the town’s first settlers, the Silver Bridge and Gallipolis’ connection to the sinking of the Titanic.

The film also explores some of Gallipolis’ more notable residents like Bob Evans, Tuskegee Airman Henry Norman and Grandma Gatewood.

The documentary is the seventh historical documentary in WOUB’s Our Town series. The series is produced and directed by Evan Shaw, a 13-time Emmy Award winner and a southeastern Ohio native.

“Gallipolis has a unique and fascinating history, from its founding with the French 500 through present day,” Shaw said. “While it is disappointing that we can’t hold an in-person premiere event, we’ve put together a wonderful documentary on Gallipolis which will inspire community pride no matter how and where its viewed.”

The March 23 TV premiere also was postponed. “Our Town: Gallipolis” will air 8 p.m. Sept. 21 on WOUB HD with an encore broadcast at 9:30 p.m.

“A lot of hard work went into this documentary,” Brewer said. “And we can’t wait until the virtual and broadcast television premieres, so everyone has a chance to see it.”


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