SHARPSBURG, Md. (AP) — A Maryland producer is hoping an online campaign will help him create a documentary about annual Antietam National Battlefield Memorial Illumination.

Michael Wicklein recently started a campaign to raise $23,110 to help fund the documentary through the website Kickstarter. The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown reports that “Gods and Generals” author Jeff Shaara announced this week that he plans to match up to $5,000 in contributions to help fund the documentary.

Wicklein hopes to finish early next year after filming the 25th annual illumination. During the December event, volunteers place 23,000 luminarias at the battlefield to represent the casualties from the bloodiest single-day battle on American soil.

Wicklein said he needs the funds to help with costs such as studio time, equipment and travel costs for interview subjects. If the money isn’t raised by May 24, the project won’t receive any pledges and Wicklein says it could take five to 10 years more to complete.

Events like the illumination are important to draw people to the battlefield to learn about American history, Shaara said.

“Without these kinds of projects, this kind of land … this place here might very well go away,” Shaara said. The memorial illumination attracts people who might not otherwise go to the battlefield, and gives them “something other than just a history lesson.”.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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