NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - An East Texas city, known for being the "Oldest town in Texas," is about to get a glimpse of living history. The Nacogdoches film festival is kicking off with a sentimental documentary made from a film taken more than 70 years ago.
"Someone was packing bread in the store, can you tell us about him?" asked a film director.
It was the year 1938. Joyce Bright Swearington took a trip down memory lane. For her, the lane was down the red brick roads of Nacogdoches.
"They were able to identify people, places, and things, and that made it that much more interesting," said Peyton Paulette, the director and editor of the "Nacogdoches 1938" documentary.
It started with a piece of film found in the Nacogdoches High School attic in the 1960s.
"It just had the words 'Nacogdoches 1938' on it," Paulette said.
The film turned out to be a historic gold-mine filled with perfect pictures of Nacocdoches' past. It was believed to be shot by filmmakers who made money by traveling to small cities and featuring their citizens on local big screens.
"Itinerant filmmakers thrived in the 1910s, 20s, and 30s," Paulette said.
Sixteen millimeters are usually stored in certain temperatures with special packaging for preservation. The one used in the film was not. Over 70 years later, it was in perfect condition.
"It was essentially living history which was the best part of it to me," Paulette said.
Now, that living history will be brought to the big screen again almost a century later at the Nacogdoches Film Festival. This time, with personal accounts from those who can remember the day the film was taken.
"Listening to them and hearing their outlooks on things and how they've changed. Just watching them watch the movie was exciting," Paulette said.
Paulette said it's the perfect way for Nacogdoches to travel back in time even if only for a moment.
This documentary will premiere on February 25th at the Cole Art Center on Main Street in Nacogdoches. It starts at 6 p.m.