A new documentary film about the religious history of 19th century Western New York is in production.
Burned Over, a reference to the region’s nickname, “The Burned-over District,” focuses on the history of the Oneida Community, a commune led by John Humphrey Noyes, and the Fox sisters, the two girls from outside Rochester that launched the phenomenon of spiritualism.
The film was halted by the pandemic, but now a new fundraising campaign on Kickstarter has been launched and a new teaser has been released.
The Burned-over District of New York, which follows the route of the Erie Canal, is famous for being the birthplace of many religions, including the Mormon, or Latter Day Saints Church, and for being crucial in 19th century movements like abolition and women’s suffrage.
So far over 2,000 images have been amassed from archives across the state and filming will begin in the coming weeks across Central and Western New York. Locations will include Rochester, the Oneida Community Mansion House and Niagara Falls, where John Humphrey Noyes lived his last days in exile.
East Bend Films is the documentary production company of Emmy-nominated producer and award-winning editor Joshua Woltermann. He has produced several films by Ric Burns and served as producer and editor of Welcome to Leith, which premiered at Sundance and was broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens.