Danie Lambert is a native of Maine. Daniel has been producing documentaries and films for 20 years. The filmmaker worked for the Maine Public Broadcasting Network (MPBN) and he has received over 20 New England Emmy® nominations since 2009. In 2012, the Autism Society of America Media Excellence in Video, Print or News award was given to him.
Daniel has produced and directed “Forlorn Hope,” “Sixteenth Maine at Gettysburg.” These are excellent films that examine largely uncovered regiments at Gettysburg. The 20th Maine often overshadows other Maine regiments in the fight. However, these films tell their story in a gripping and exciting way and we recommend everyone watch them. Daniel is also releasing an upcoming Civil War film.
We sat down with the filmmaker to discuss this and much more and created a log of everything we talked about.
- How did you come across the story of the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery?
Before I started my production company, Lambert Films, I produced a film “Sixteenth Maine at Gettysburg” for public television. During the research phase of the Sixteenth Maine at Gettysburg, I learned about the ill-fated charge of the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery Regiment at the Civil War battle of Petersburg.
- What about their story captivated you and made you want to make a film on it?
The story of the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery Regiment captivated me because of the valor of these men from Maine who bravely followed orders to march alone into withering enemy fire.
- What kind of research goes into your films? How do you find the information you use and make sure it is accurate?
I often work with local historians to source documents and images to include in my films. The Maine State Archives was a fantastic resource for Forlorn Hope due to their collection of state records.
- How long does it take to make your films? What kind of effort goes into making these films?
The production of my films can take as little as three months to as much as two years depending on the complexity of the piece.
The production of my films usually takes shape in three phases: pre-production, production, and post-production. The pre-production phase includes determining the story you want to tell and lining up the resources and personnel needed to execute that vision. The pre-production stage also includes writing a script outline, lining up interviews, and determining locations for shoots. The production phase is filming the interviews and recording footage of locations determined in pre-production. The post-production phase is going through all the interviews, b-roll footage, and photo assets to determine what assets you will need to edit the film. The last step in the process is editing the film.
- Where did you get the shots from for Forlorn Hope? Did you take them yourself? If so, where did you take them at?
The footage in Forlorn Hope is a combination of on-location clips filmed at the Petersburg National Battlefield in Virginia, reenactment footage I coordinated and filmed at various locations in Maine, and archival footage and stills.
- How did you get into filmmaking?
I started my career in TV news which made me realize I had a passion for storytelling.
After my stint in TV News, I moved into Public Television which allowed me to learn how to tell longer stories effectively. Once I was secure in my creative and technical abilities as a filmmaker, I decided to start telling the stories that personally resonated with me.
- What is your favorite documentary that inspires you and the films you create?
Seeing Ken Burns’ “The Civil War” documentary series on PBS as a child inspired my interest in history and to me is still the gold standard of historical documentaries.
- Have you always wanted to create documentaries?
I’ve always had a passion for watching documentaries, but it took some time to build the confidence and skills to ultimately start producing films on my own.
- Do all your films focus on the Civil War or do you make films on other topics?
I am fascinated by the American Civil War era, but I have produced films on other topics ranging from health subjects such as Autism, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Parkinson’s Disease to other pressing issues like climate change.
- Do all your Civil War studies focus on Maine regiments or do you study the war as a whole?
Being a native Mainer myself I tend to gravitate to the stories of the Maine regiments during the Civil War, but I am interested in the conflict as a whole too.
- How do you feel about your upcoming film, Maine at Gettysburg?
I am very excited about the film I’m producing about the State of Maine’s involvement at the Battle of Gettysburg, tentatively titled “Dirigo: Maine at Gettysburg.” When most people hear about Maine and the Battle of Gettysburg, they often think about Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and the 20th Maine’s storied bayonet charge down Little Round Top at the Battle of Gettysburg. The 20th Maine’s role was crucial during the battle, but my goal with this film is to tell the story of the other Maine regiments who fought at Gettysburg.
- What are you most excited about with your upcoming film?
The thing that moves me most about working on “Dirigo: Maine at Gettysburg” is reconnecting Mainers young and old to their history. It’s my honor to be able to tell the stories of these often-forgotten men from Maine, and it is a responsibility I take very seriously.
- How can we support your film?
The film will be submitted to local PBS for an initial broadcast later this year. Following the broadcast, the film will be made available online. Feel free to share the film at that time.
- Anything else you would like to add?
I would like to acknowledge the many Civil War reenactment groups who offered their time and expertise towards the production of this film.
Here is where you can support Daniel Lambert and his films or contact him.