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Mike Mort, owner of Equity Studios, oversees some of the project filming with Lee Fraim behind the camera.
Posted: Oct. 11, 2012 at 7:06 a.m.
COLDWATER - As Tibbits Opera House undergoes its unique restoration, the process is being documented; that documentary received a financial boost from the Sturgis-based law firm of Dresser, Dresser, Haas & Caywood, P.C. which committed to a $10,000 platinum level sponsorship.
Documentarian Michael Mort, owner of Equity Studios, Inc. of Sturgis, proposed the idea for the film in December 2011. The main character of the 60-minute program is the Tibbits Opera House. The film tells the story of its history, facade restoration and the value to preserving a community's architectural character.
Mort has been filming restoration work on-site as well as at the Grand River Builders workshop in Grand Rapids. The production will feature historical re-enactments, old film footage, photographic images, and contemporary footage of the actual restoration-preservation process. These elements will be combined with interviews from local residents involved in the project, community leaders and those actually doing the work to create both a practical and philosophical statement about the value of such historical restoration for communities across our country.
Founded in 1898, the law firm of Dresser, Dresser, Haas & Caywood and its predecessors has been serving the southern Michigan and northern Indiana areas, concentrating on business and personal planning law services for over 100 years.
"Our commitment to the Tibbits restoration exemplifies our giving back to the history and well-being of our broader community," said John Dresser, president of the law firm, "We also want to commemorate the lifetime support given to the Tibbits by Harold J. (Dutch) Meier, M.D. of Coldwater and father of Mrs. Gretchen Dresser."
"We really appreciate the law firm's support in this unique chance to preserve our history," said Tibbits executive director Christine Delaney. "We expect the documentary to have a broad appeal especially to preservation organizations, communities working to save their unique heritage as well as to broadcast media."
Other sponsors to date include the Branch County Community Foundation as well as three of the companies involved in the construction project Owen-Ames-Kimball, Grand River Builders and Tom Roberts, Architect.
The completion of Tibbits restoration will gain local and state attention and also elevate interest nationally for its capture of historic preservation and architectural craftsmanship. A celebration event for the premiere of the documentary and dedication of the completed facade will take place April 27, 2013.
Tibbits Opera House is located at 14 South Hanchett Street in Coldwater, Michigan.
For more information on sponsorship opportunities for the documentary or the restoration project, call the theater at 517-278-6029 or visit www.Tibbits.org.