BAY CITY, MI – While movies with Santa Claus and snowmen are popular this time of year, a film shot in mid-Michigan is offering a different type of holiday movie experience.
A history based film titled “The Peace Pox” premieres Dec. 22 in Bay City. It chronicles the Christmas Truce of 1914, when World War 1 soldiers on both sides temporarily stopped fighting.
“It’s the story of how the common soldiers come together at Christmas Eve and have a moment of peace to bury the dead,” Director Danzell Calhoun said.
The film was spearheaded by a local crew and was shot locally. Calhoun and producer and writer Rodney Merten led the project.
The film premieres at 2 p.m. Dec. 22 at Bay City’s Westown Theater, 611 E. Midland St. Tickets are available in advance for $10 by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or 989-372-2858 or at the door for $12.
The film takes a look at the lives of two sergeants, one German and one British. The characters reflect back on their lives and realize that they have a common connection.
“That aspect of going from enemies to friends, I took it from more of an everyday standpoint that the normal person can relate to,” said Calhoun.
“The Peace Pox” was filmed in Fairgrove, Bay City, and other Michigan locations. Filming sites included Hyatt Ewald Funeral Home in Bay City and First Presbyterian Church of Saginaw.
Calhoun and his crew had to do a lot of research and they received a lot of tips and pointers from the dedicated reenactors who joined them for the film. The weather also served as a realistic teacher about World War I and the conditions soldiers endured.
Calhoun and the crew were out in below zero temperatures for multiple 12-hour days filming. They were working in freezing cold actual trenches that filled with water, just like the trenches from World War I, requiring the crew to work through tough conditions.
Calhoun and Merten are no strangers to film production. The two started working together in 2007 when they began doing stage plays in local bars and gymnasiums. They then produced their first feature film called, “Torn Soul”.
The duo has also led their own film festivals, with Mertin directing the Tarpon Arts Film Festival and Calhoun the Great Lakes State Film Festival. Both are in the business of also acquiring and distributing films.
Producers for “The Peace Pox” include Rebecca Calhoun and John Peterson. Steve Norton was the assistant director.