William Hereford

Achievement Unlocked! Honors and Awards Roll in for American Battlefield Trust Video Productions

Three different video projects score major international awards as the nonprofit’s YouTube channel surges past 100,000 subscribers

(Washington, D.C.) — As digital education and interpretation tools become increasingly important, the American Battlefield Trust is keeping pace with trends and earning an ever-growing list of accolades for its groundbreaking video storytelling. In recent weeks Trust video productions have earned Silver Medal honors in major international competitions from the Society of Publication Designers and the Telly Awards, showcasing the innovative means available to bring the past alive through this medium.

“In terms of its reach, accessibility and immersive qualities, video is the most versatile tool in our interpretation arsenal,” said Trust President James Lighthizer. “We are proud of the ways that these productions can bring the past alive for so many different audiences.”

All of the honored videos were created in collaboration with Wide Awake Films, a longtime Trust partner based in Kansas City, Mo. Wide Awake specializes in crafting quality pieces that bring the past to life, a skill they contribute to other historic sites and organizations, including George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

“The relationship that Wide Awake Films and the Trust have been able to cultivate over many years results in powerful visual storytelling,” said Wide Awake founder Shane Seley. “We trust each other’s vision and creativity, making ours a truly collaborative partnership.”

Virtual Reality, Tangible Interest

Late in 2019, the Trust released its first truly immersive video production, Civil War 1864: A Virtual Reality Experience, which swiftly became the most popular video the Trust has ever created. This four-part joint effort with Wide Awake Films transports viewers — especially those using VR headsets — into the harsh realities lived by soldiers in the trenches, on patrol, in camp or in the hospital. From conception to release, the process took more than two years, but the results were remarkable, as illustrated by the film’s remarkable reception. Last month, it was included as an official selection at the Pixii Festival, an international gathering showcasing international immersive installations (virtual reality, augmented 360°) to an international audience, alongside other honorees including Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass from the Musée du Louvre. The production also won a Silver Telly Award in the Virtual and Mixed Reality division of the 41st annual Telly Awards, the world’s largest honor in video and television content.

Separately, a Trust fundraising video featuring actor and historic preservationist Steve Zahn exploring an endangered part of Kentucky’s Perryville Battlefield, also earned a Silver Telly Award in the Promotional Video: Not for Profit category.

“Brothers in Valor” Shows Connection between Historic and Modern Military

In conjunction with a special edition of its award-winning membership magazine, Hallowed Ground, focused on the history of the Medal of Honor, the Trust released a suite of supporting video content to enrich the reader experience. The issue brought recipients of the Medal of Honor from World War II, the Vietnam War and the War on Terror to Civil War battlefields where they reflected on the experience of a historic recipient whose citation for valor bears striking similarities to their own. On-site interviews were combined with archival images and historically accurate reenactment footage to showcase the enduring ties that exist between the historic and modern military. Dubbed “Brothers in Valor,” this package has recently been named the Silver Medalist in the 55th annual Society of Publication Designers competition in the Video of the Year category, finishing just behind a film produced by The New Yorker to support its issue on human trafficking. The entire multimedia “Brothers in Valor” package also won a Grand Award in the APEX Awards for Publication Excellence.

Trust YouTube Channel Passes 100,000 Subscribers

Although created in 1987 as purely a land preservation organization, the Trust has developed into an educational powerhouse for American military history — 52,000 acres of battlefield land saved forever, bolstered by a social media following of more than 500,000 and in excess of 10 million web visits per year — as a means to convey the significance of those protected landscapes. With more than 400 uploads on its YouTube Channel, many of them designed to function equally well in the classroom or the living room, the Trust is no stranger to creating quality video content. In the last few months, as the Trust redoubled its commitment to “inspiring minds at home,” it saw a significant increase in viewership, garnering more than 1 million views in each of the last three months. Amid this increase in overall viewership, the channel also saw its 100,000th subscriber. Google, the owner of the YouTube platform, recognizes the achievement with a “Silver Creator Award” plaque, to be displayed at the Trust’s offices in the near future.

The American Battlefield Trust is dedicated to preserving America’s hallowed battlegrounds and educating the public about what happened there and why it matters today.  The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization has protected more than 50,000 acres associated with the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War. Learn more at www.battlefields.org.