TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Local News

April 7, 2014

Movie about governor’s mansion shown in London

CORBIN — By LeeAnn Cain / Staff Writer

First lady Jane Beshear may not have made it to Sunday’s screening of “Kentucky Governor’s Mansion: A Century of Reflection,” but the reception still saw a gathering of around 20 people.

Among those present was the producer of the film, Michael Breeding. Breeding said Executive Director for the Governor’s Mansion Ann Evans approached him with the idea for a film celebrating the 100th anniversary of the current Governor’s mansion. According to Breeding, plans for a documentary on the governor’s mansion were proposed as far back as 2007, but it took time for those plans to come to fruition.

“I like to tell epic stories, and the story of Kentucky’s Governor’s Mansion is an epic story,” Breeding said.

Breeding said he made sure he told a comprehensive story, and decided to begin the film with the history of the original governor’s mansion, which was built in the 1780s.

“We had to create drama, and when you go all the way back you can create plenty of drama,” Breeding explained.

Present to explain some of the history of the old mansion was Director and State Curator of the Kentucky Division of Historic Properties David Buchta.

“The original Kentucky Governor’s Mansion is the oldest executive building in the United States,” Buchta said. “It’s still used as an official guesthouse of the state.”

He also explained the current governor’s mansion, built in 1914, exists due to federal funding received to repair some of the damages of the Civl War. However, the original building still stands after more than 200 years.

In fact, Buchta’s favorite thing about the documentary is its thorough history of the mansion that pre-dates the current building. Buchta said the governor’s mansion is special because many states are “doing away with the idea of a governor’s mansion.”

Evans was also present and said the documentary was a fine way of celebrating the mansion’s centennial.

“People who come from around the United States to see the most beautiful governor’s mansion in the country need to see its history,” she said. “It’s not just a beautiful building.”

Evans went on to say the modern governor’s mansion serves as “an epicenter for economic development and tourism.”

Evans feels the documentary is a way to bring history to people in a way that is entertaining and will encourage them to learn more about the mansion.

Evans’ favorite part of the film is the stories of all the previous governors and first ladies.

“Everyone has a best funny story, but there are a lot of deeply personal stories about what the mansion meant to them,” she said.

The film was sponsored by Marian and Terry Forcht. As thanks for their involvement with the film, the couple was presented with a drawing of Sue Bennett College by London City Council Member Jim Hays.

The Governor’s Mansion turned 100 years old Jan. 20, and the documentary kicked off a year-long Centennial Celebration for the Governor’s Mansion. The documentary covered the architectural, social and political history of the mansion and was filmed in 2013. It was narrated by Kentucky native and ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer.

The documentary featured historical reenactments and interviews from former governors and their families, including former Kentucky First Lady Phyllis George Brown, former Gov. Martha Lane Collins and current Gov. Steve Beshear. The film looked at family and political life in the mansion, and included milestones throughout Kentucky and the nation’s history.

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