Becoming Colonel Cullmann: DVD Documentary Shows How Town Embraces Historical Re-enactor

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The documentary, now on sale from Pharaoh's Drawers Media, reveals why a small town southern historical re-enactor plays the role of a town founder and its effect on a local community.

“Becoming Colonel Cullmann,” a documentary by filmmakers Laura Axelrod and Greg Richter, is now on sale online and at select locations. The DVD contains more than 90 minutes of extras, along with the 15-minute short film.

The DVD is produced by Pharaoh’s Drawers Media.

The film, which premiered at the 2014 Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham, Alabama, reveals how historical re-enactors bring a community together.

Larry Rowlette acts out the role of Cullman, Alabama founder, Col. Johann G. Cullmann at local events. He doesn’t get paid for his work, nor does he live in town. So why does he do it?

The film follows Rowlette through Cullman’s annual Oktoberfest and cemetery tour, and talks to local residents about Rowlette’s portrayal. He shares his own story and, in costume, Colonel Cullmann’s life.

Annette Laing, a public historian who holds a doctorate in early American and British history from the University of California, tells us what makes historical re-enactors tick – and what drives someone to take on the role of a town founder. She also discusses Colonial Williamsburg and the kind of research that goes into portraying people from the past.

The DVD also contains a short film about Making of the Oktoberfest Hay People, giant figures made from bales of hay. There is also a Q&A session with Colonel Cullmann, where local community leaders ask Larry Rowlette about aspects of his portrayal.

This DVD gives city and town leaders across America ideas about how they could publicize their own communities by using historical re-enactors. It also delves into the history of Northern Alabama.

Director Laura Axelrod is a writer, playwright and actor. Her plays have been performed in New York City, California and Europe. Her writing has appeared in Humanities, The Magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Birmingham News, and The Clyde Fitch Report. She received an MFA and BFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts.

Cinematographer Greg Richter has spent more than 25 years as a journalist. Throughout his newspaper and online career, Greg has won numerous awards from The Associated Press and the Alabama Press Association. He is co-author of “Legendary Locals of Cullman County” with Kay Cagle, published by Arcadia Publishing.

Please contact Laura Axelrod at 917-412-7390 or laura(at)lauraaxelrod(dot)com for interviews or more information. You can also visit the film’s website at
or its Facebook page,

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Laura Axelrod
Becoming Colonel Cullmann
since: 07/2014
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