FMHS grad produces history on Fort Madison’s paper mills

BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR

FORT MADISON – A Fort Madison High School alumnus has churned out a video that takes a deep look a the paper mill industry in Fort Madison.

“Wood Chips to Pay Checks: 125 years of paper manufacturing in Fort Madison, Iowa” is now available at the North Lee County Historical Society (NLCHS) and Dodd Printing & Stationery and was created and produced by 1965 FMHS graduate Mike Killoren.

The hour-long video covers the history of the paper mills of Fort Madison that began in 1882 and was produced by 1965 Fort Madison High School graduate Michael Killoren. The piece takes a look at how and why paper mills set up shop in Fort Madison and follows them through today. The video is narrated by Neil Dodd of Dodd Printing and Stationery, and was filmed on location featuring historical film footage, photos, documents, and live interviews with former employees, local citizens, and students.

Killoren said he embarked on the project, which took close to ten months to complete, to give something back to the community where he grew up.

“It took about 1,500 hours,” Killoren said. “There are two reasons for the project – one, I wanted to give something back to my hometown following my retirement and 40 year absence, and two, to perform meaningful challenging volunteer work that would require me to use my skills, experience, and training.”

He said the process involved picking a video subject and then doing a lot of research to determine the feasibility. Killoren said he then had to create a story board and prepare video shooting locations including dates, conditions and equipment he would need to use.

He then selected and digitized the material for the video including videos, photographs, and documents. He had to select actors, music, and scripts, along with get copyright permission, design graphics, and negotiate contracts to duplicate the video for sale.

He said the editing part of the process is the most critical creative phase in the process.

“Editing consumes between 40 and 50 percent of my time. It literally makes the video come to life,” Killoren said.

The videos are for sale for $15 at the North Lee County Historical Museum. For more information contact the museum at 372-7661.

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