An Edgar Allan Poe Documentary Is Being Made in Boston

The filmmakers want to raise $75,000 on Kickstarter before Halloween.

edgar allan poe

Photo by Liane Brandon. Provided by Spy Pond Productions

Edgar Allan Poe wasn’t the macabre human being history remembers him as, and a new documentary wants to set his record straight.

Boston-based Spy Pond Productions plans to tell the story of Poe, who was born in Boston but pledged allegiance to multiple cities including Baltimore and Philadelphia (although he does have a statue in Edgar Allan Poe Square on the corner of Boylston Street and Charles Street South.) The documentary, called Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive, considers Poe a misunderstood author and poet, and attempts to give viewers a new understanding of him and his place in popular culture.

Spy Pond was awarded a grant to make the 90 minute-long film, but it has launched a Kickstarter to cover remaining costs, like archival image and footage fees, as well as wages for editors, animators, and the score’s composer. The company is aiming to reach its $75,000 goal by midnight on Halloween.

Tony Award-winning actor Denis O’Hare plays Poe in the film’s dramatic scenes, filmed at Castle Island’s Fort Independence. Writers like Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Marilynne Robinson offer up their expertise in Poe’s background and literary influence.

Director Eric Stange took over the completion of the documentary when its original visionary, Wally Coberg, suddenly died of a heart attack at the age of 62. It was Coberg’s lifelong goal to convey Poe’s true identity, despite the fact that he wasn’t a filmmaker by trade. He contacted Stange about his dream and was close to making it come true it after securing the grant to get his documentary in motion.

“It’s very exciting,” said Stange. “It feels very good to finally be able to bring Wally’s dream to reality because he’s kind of the godfather of the project. It’s sad he’s not here. That’s really part of the reason I kept at it—he had been so excited about it and so determined to get it done so I felt like we couldn’t just let it go.”

Stange estimates the documentary will debut in October 2016. The American Masters series has agreed to air it on PBS.

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