For the Media

How Historical Re-enactors Show Communities Who They Are

A short documentary reveals why a small town southern historical re-enactor plays the role of a town founder.

Cullman, Alabama (PRWEB) August 15, 2014

“Becoming Colonel Cullmann,” a documentary by filmmakers Laura Axelrod and Greg Richter, focuses on historical re-enactors and how they bring a community together.

Larry Rowlette, a Nashville, Tennessee native, acts out the role of Cullman, Alabama founder, Col. Johann G. Cullmann at local events. He doesn’t get paid for his work, nor does he live in town. So why does he do it?

This 17-minute exploration follows Rowlette through Cullman’s annual Oktoberfest and cemetery tour, and talks to local residents about how they feel about Rowlette’s portrayal. Rowlette himself shares his own story and, in costume, a bit of Col. Cullmann’s.

Annette Laing, who holds a doctorate in early American and British history from the University of California, tells us what makes historical re-enactors tick – and what drives someone to take on the role of a town founder.

The film also gives city and town leaders across America some ideas about how they could publicize their own communities by using historical re-enactors.

“Becoming Colonel Cullmann” is a selection for the 2014 Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham, Alabama.

Director Laura Axelrod is a writer, playwright, and actor. Her plays have been performed in New York City, California and Europe. She received an MFA and BFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts. She is associate curator for The Clyde Fitch Report.

Cinematographer Greg Richter has spent more than 25 years as a journalist. Throughout his newspaper and online career, Greg has won numerous awards from The Associated Press and the Alabama Press Association. He is co-author of the upcoming “Legendary Locals of Cullman County” with Kay Cagle, published by Arcadia Publishing.

Please contact Laura Axelrod at 917-412-7390 or laura(at)lauraaxelrod(dot)com for interviews or more information. You can also visit the film’s website at or its Facebook page,