Al Underwood – Horse Wrangler and Instructor for Actors

Al Underwood is a consummate professional with all things Horses and Teaching Actors how to safely ride on screen both in and out of Battle. A member of the Horses in Action Foundation, Al has joined the Historical Drama Elijah and George, A Revolutionary Tale as Horse Wrangler, Actor Trainer and Cast as Loyalist British Dragoon SGT. Benjamin English.

Actors learn to ride for the silver screen in Albemarle

BY DAVID A. MAURER – Apr 9, 2017

Al Underwood teaches actors how to ride horses at Preddy Creek Trail Park.

Watching a cowboy or gunslinger galloping across the silver screen on a horse with its mane dancing in the wind makes for a good scene.

Put a few hundred actors on horseback and have them charge across an open field, and you likely have a scene for the ages. Finding that number of actors who won’t end up being bounced along the ground with a foot caught in a stirrup, however, is another matter.

On a recent sunny afternoon at Preddy Creek Trail Park north of Charlottesville, Al Underwood was teaching equestrian skills to a new generation of actors. For a number of years, he has been helping producers and casting directors fill roles that call for horse-related skills.

“You can learn how to ride a horse anywhere, but the specialty thing we bring is that we’ll teach you how to be an actor on horseback,” Underwood said as he slung a British Army saddle onto the back of one of his horses. “We teach confidence and competence.”

“Not only will we teach you how to ride and look like you own the place, you will learn how to present yourself well for the camera. And we’ll teach you how to be safe, and keep your horse safe.”

“Today, I’m giving four students an advanced class on rough-terrain riding. We’ll be going up and down steep hills, crossing a stream and riding through wooded areas.”

Photos/Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress

Before Underwood retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the U.S. Army, he had put in time in the saddle as a member of the legendary B Troop, 4th U.S. Cavalry Regiment (Memorial), at Fort  Huachuca, Arizona. This storied outfit was activated in 1855 and has distinguished itself in most of the nation’s wars.

The mounted element of the regiment honors the long tradition of cavalrymen, and it usually is seen these days in parades and historical events. One of Underwood’s high points while a member of B Troop was riding in the Rose Bowl Parade.

The retired soldier had another high point when he got to be one of the riders in the 2000 film “The Patriot,” starring Mel Gibson. This indirectly led him to the task of teaching actors how to ride.

“During the filming of ‘The Patriot,’ I noticed that except for the big-time actors, all the guys they had riding horses were from states out west like Montana and Colorado,” said Underwood, who lives near Barboursville. “They had to import them from way out there, and that stuck with me. Then, four or five years ago we had a little reenactment group, the First Virginia Regiment, Dragoon Section, out of Northern Virginia. There were four of us, and we’d put on riding demonstrations. Our names were handed out to various film companies that needed riders. This led to us getting a job at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, where they were making a film and needed some guys who could ride.”

Other film jobs followed. An added plus for producers is that Underwood’s horse, Ranger, will ride through fire and smoke, and isn’t bothered by gunfire or the booming reports from cannons. “Oftentimes, when I went to do some riding in a film, the director would come over to me and say they almost never got guys who can really make the horses go and look the part,” Underwood said.

“Another guy told me he was on the production staff for the movie ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ and they wanted 250 guys who could ride well and do basic things. They could only find about 100 riders, so they had to change things. We were working on another film when the casting director suggested to Sheri Bias, owner of Liquid Talent Agency in Richmond, that they would like to set up some riding classes through her agency.” Underwood was the obvious choice for the head instructor position.

Thanks to the growth of the film industry in Virginia, he since has given hundreds of actors the skills they need to land parts that call for boots and saddles.

Competition in the acting profession can be so fierce that one might exaggerate horseback-riding proficiency in order to land a part. The horse likely will be the first to realize that the would-be rider doesn’t know the difference between a bridle and a saddle girth.

“We had a guy come up here from South Carolina who was going to be in a movie with Matthew McConaughey,” Underwood said. “He said he had to be on a galloping horse, with a pistol in his hand, to get the part. He claimed that he knew all about horses, had ridden a lot and just needed a refresher. He had brought his own video crew with him.”

“I told him to get on that big black horse over there, and I’d show him how to do it. He kept walking around the horse, and finally he came up to me and said, ‘I have quite a bit of equestrian experience, but I can’t remember how to get on.’

“That kind of thing happens a lot. He spent six hours out here and got to where he was pretty comfortable on the horse. He got the part.”

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Underwood can be contacted at thriveequestrian@gmail.com.

David A. Maurer is a features writer for The Daily Progress.

Contact him at (434) 978-7244 or dmaurer@dailyprogress.com.

To read the entire article – https://www.dailyprogress.com/news/local/actors-learn-to-ride-for-the-silver-screen-inalbemarle/

False Narrative of Socialism Countered by Historical Drama

Williamsburg, VA. February 29, 2020

Freedom in America is under fierce attack, now more than ever in our countries history.  Instigators pushing a socialist agenda from within and outside of the United States attract younger generations through divisive “sound bites” and false narrative.

Censorship by social media giants set an equally dangerous precedence. It is not uncommon for those supporting American Principles to face these inequalities.

To secure liberty and freedom, America’s Founding Fathers declared independence and fought the American Revolution based on certain First Principles, including protecting unalienable rights, limited government, and checks and balances.

Producers for the Independent Movie Production, Elijah and George – A Revolutionary Tale, http://ElijahandGeorge.com have countered this “wave” of unprecedented attacks on freedom through a wide audience, thought-provoking historical drama.

Elijah and George is an inspirational, character driven movie that follow a young boy’s seemingly impossible adventures as he follows his Pa, a farmer who joins the 6th Pennsylvania Regiment during the Revolutionary War, after the British Horse Soldiers storm his farmhouse and tragedy ensues.

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Producer, Risa Leigh Clarke shares, “The story follows the American Revolution from Valley Forge through the 1778 Battle of Monmouth. The movie is uniting, bringing the audience into the characters struggles and triumphs in what they endure and overcome in the name of family, freedom and home…with a twist of redemption.”

She continues, “We aim to produce an entertaining movie that will inspire people to learn first-hand the facts about the founding of America, good and bad, and honor those who sacrificed for our freedoms.”

Congressman Dan Crenshaw shared at CPAC 2020, “We need to tell the story of empowerment and self-reliance, not dependency. We need to tell the story of freedom, not utopian collectivism. We need to tell the story that it is still OK to unapologetically love America because that story is based in truth and gratitude and not fear-mongering for the sake of revolution and power.”

The movie production has faced censorship and suppression on social media. Facebook sent notice to categorize the movie as a “Political Entity”. Clarke rightfully opposed and won. She remains undeterred and is powering through these obstacles through grass roots campaigning.

The production has fiscal sponsorship, the movie budget is $5.9 million. They are raising funds through various means to include entertaining sponsors and investors. 1663 Media Arts, LLC goal is to begin filming Elijah and George this spring and release the movie nationwide early fall.

Individuals may support the movie through their Crowdfunding Campaign.

http://ElijahandGeorge.com

WW2 Vet Joins Cast of Historical Drama

February 3, 2020
Williamsburg, Virginia
For Immediate Release

World War 2 Veteran Joins the Cast of the Historical Drama, Elijah and George, A Revolutionary Tale

96YO WW2VETDr. Frank Taylor is a funny, sharp, retired physician who served in WW2 including the Battle of Metz and Battle of the Bulge. You would think he is 65 or 70 but he is 96 with no signs of slowing down.

Risa Leigh Clarke, Producer, Director and Writer with 1663 Media Arts, LLC was introduced to Dr. Taylor through Al Underwood of the Horses In Action Foundation. She shares “I was so inspired by Dr. Taylor and his selfless acts for our great nation that we invited him to join our film family!

Elijah and George – A Revolutionary Tale recently filmed a Proof of Concept Movie Trailer for funding purposes at Berkeley Plantation in Charles City, VA. Dr. Taylor and his family were invited to watch the action as special guests and meet the cast and crew.

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Dr. Frank Taylor and Family with General George Washington and one of his Life Guards

Charlottesville, VA resident Dr. Taylor will have a guest starring role in a modern day museum scene that will run during the closing credits of the movie. The scene will be filmed in Yorktown at the American Revolution Museum with a message of honoring the past in the present day.

Elijah and George is inspired by the Historical Children’s Book, George Washington’s Army and Me, by Author and Illustrator Michael Dooling. The movie tells the adventures of a courageous farm-boy and faithful dog as they encounter famous figures of the American Revolution on his frantic search for his father, a soldier in the 6th PA Regiment, who has gone missing during the 1778 Battle of Monmouth.

The movie will highlight the often-forgotten lives of camp followers who served alongside the armies of the conflict, and will appeal to families and viewers of all ages, lovers of history, and of course appreciators of good film-making.

Dr. Taylor represents the Army legacy, the “greatest generation” that saved the free world during WW2 and the wonderful community we all enjoy. His college career at Hampden-Sydney College was cut short just two months prior to graduation when he and his classmates were drafted into the Army in 1943.

He was assigned to the 95th Infantry Artillery, Fire Direction Center. He arrived in England in August of 1944 and went into combat in France in September. The 95th Division was assigned to Patton’s Third Army and pushed forward to secure the bridges along the Moselle River in northeast France, including the “fortress city” of Metz, replete with entrenchments, tunnels and multiple fortresses.

Hitler directed almost five German Divisions to “hold at all costs” but securing these sites would enable allied Armies to enter Germany. The vicious battle to secure Metz went on for three months, until 13 December and Sergeant Taylor and the 95th Division earned the nickname “Iron Men of Metz”.

Two weeks later, on 26 December, the German Army initiated the “Battle of the Bulge” just north of Sergeant Taylor’s location. In spite of the extremely cold temperatures and snowstorms (the oil in vehicles began to congeal and 17k soldiers were hospitalized from cold weather injuries) Patton’s Army pushed north to relieve the paratroopers surrounded at Bastogne and successfully cut off the German advance. Dr. Taylor pushed into occupied Holland and then central Germany firing well over 200,000 rounds into enemy forces.

DAd army copyAfter the war, Dr. Taylor recommitted his efforts to reenter the medical profession through University of Virginia and the Cleveland Clinic, which he completed in 1954. He treated thousands of patients in the Charlottesville area and served as an instructor of internal medicine at UVA for fifty years.

He has also served as the President of several professional medical organizations and served the community through the Rotary Club, Mayflower Society and Sons of the American Revolution. His awards and accolades are warranted and numerous from three campaign stars and the French Legion of Honor to numerous medical and community awards.

Dr. Taylor recently attended the commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the deliverance of Metz from the Nazis, where he was heralded by French leaders and citizens as a genuine, heroic liberator.

A true, humble hero, Dr. Taylor never spoke of his service, sacrifice or heroics during World War Two, until recently when the Rotary Club asked him to speak about his experience as a WW2 Army veteran. Dr. Taylor’s life, in service to others, on the battlefield and in dozens of hospitals, represent a nobility of character that serve as a model for us all. In fact, we are all part of that legacy. As MLK said, “we can all be great, because we can all serve”.

About the movie:

Elijah and George – A Revolutionary Tale An impossible adventure begins when a young boy sneaks out of George Washington’s Encampment on a frantic search to find his father, a 6th PA. Soldier, who does not return from the 1778 Battle of Monmouth. Will the game of draughts save the young boy’s life and get him home?

This family friendly movie is an adventurous, action-filled, at-time humorous, heartfelt story woven in the fabric of Family, Freedom, Home…with a twist of Redemption!

Elijah and George – A Revolutionary Tale went into Development January 2018. They are actively raising funds for the feature film budget of $5.9 million.  Their goal is to be fully funded in time to begin filming late spring 2020 in Virginia. This schedule will keep them on track for a Fall 2020 theatrical release.

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Media Contact:

Risa Leigh Clarke – Producer
info@1663MediaArts.com
http://ElijahandGeorge.com

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A Timely Historical Drama Steeped in Family, Freedom and Home.

Occasionally, a film appears at precisely the right time during a country’s history. “Elijah and George – A Revolutionary Tale” is perfect—now.

As the United States of America grapples with chronic political divisiveness, producer, director, and writer Risa Leigh Clarke has set out to create a family-friendly movie about America’s founding principles: family, freedom, and home.

“While our film is not political, it is very timely. At its core, the story of “Elijah and George – A Revolutionary Tale” celebrates unifying values: the beauty of a loving family, the resilience of the human spirit as father and son fight to get back to each other, and the goodness of freedom and home,” says Clarke.

The movie is set to tell the adventures of a courageous 8-year-old farmboy and his faithful dog they encounter famous figures of the American Revolution on a frantic search for his father, a 6th PA Soldier, who has gone missing during the 1778 Battle of Monmouth. The film will highlight the often-forgotten lives of young camp followers who served alongside the armies of the conflict, and will be appealing to families and viewers of all ages, lovers of history, and of course appreciators of good film-making.

The story was adapted from Michael Dooling’s popular children’s book, “George Washington’s Army and Me” which also featured his illustrations. Based on letters and diaries from the period, “Elijah and George” is an adventurous, sometimes humorous, and heartfelt tale that aims for a PG rating.

Starring Drew Youngblood, the film is character driven, as young Elijah pursues his father, a farmer who joins the 6th Pennsylvania Regiment during the Revolutionary War, after the Loyalists storm his farmhouse and tragedy ensues.

According to Clarke, “It’s one of those stories that leaps off the shelf. My hope is for “Elijah and George” to be a unifying film. It’s part love story, part American history about how our freedoms came to be. The story brings the audience into the characters’ struggles and triumphs in what they can and do endure in the name of family, freedom and home.”

The film goes beyond the theater. David Bruce Smith’s Grateful American™ Foundation has partnered with 1663 Media Arts, LLC as a #HistoryMatters Educational Partner in support of the historical drama. Grateful American Kids’ is an interactive multimedia program that is focused on restoring enthusiasm about American history for kids—and adults. That mission is mirrored by the vision of the film.

A 1663 Media Arts, LLC Production they are actively campaigning to raise production funds.

They are also entertaining major sponsors and Investors.

 

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National Stunt Dog Champion “Good Beasley” Cast as Lead Canine “Jack” in Family Friendly Historical Drama!

For Immediate Release

December 11, 2019
Williamsburg, VA

National Stunt Dog Champion “Good Beasley” Cast as Lead Canine “Jack” in Family Friendly Historical Drama!

Good Beasley Double-2

Rescue Pup Good Beasley has joined the cast of Elijah and George – A Revolutionary Tale as Elijah’s faithful dog “Jack”!

Handler Chrissy Joy adopted Beasley for a hiking companion and lifelong best buddy.  They named him, Beasley, which means “woodland” in old English.  She shares “We soon began training at Bone-A-Fied Talent Group where we found an instant skill set in trick training.”

Elijah and George follows the adventures of a courageous 8-year-old farm-boy and his faithful dog as they encounter famous figures of the American Revolution on a frantic search for his father, a soldier in the 6th PA Regiment, who goes missing after the 1778 Battle of Monmouth.

1663 Media Arts, LLC Producer Risa Leigh Clarke shares “We were looking for a very specific “18th Century” farm dog for the role of Jack. I instantly fell in love with Beasley! He has such a wonderful personality, Beasley feels like an instant lifelong friend. The role of Jack is very demanding and Good Beasley’s command of numerous tricks and his ease on set around other animals, sealed the deal!”

A Spokes-Pup for Anti-Bullying, Good Beasley and Chrissy Joy won a Telly Award for Best Cinematography. Out of hundreds of competitors, Good Beasley and Chrissy Joy won the 2018 National Stunt Dog Championship at Purina Farms!

Beasley, a Ibizan Hound Mix, thrives on stage, on film sets, TV, commercial and print! You may have seen him on the 2017-2019 Chewy commercials, Wawa, PetValu, Rachael Ray magazine, Modern Dog Magazine, US Weekly, NBC, ABC, FOX, DISNEY and more. Good Beasley’s most recent major film is as the lead “spy dog” in the movie Agent Toby Barks, by LIONSGATE, voice over by Jon Lovitz and will release in 2020.

Chrissy Joy and Good Beasley’s motto is “Take Chance, Make Opportunities!” and shares “we are thrilled to be working with this historical and exciting heartfelt film, Elijah and Jack!”

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Media Contacts:

Risa Leigh Clarke – Producer
1663 Media Arts, LLC
ElijahandGeorge.com
info@1663MediaArts.com
1663 Media Arts, LLC develops historical dramas based on real life events…because History Matters

Chrissy Joy – Handler
Bone-A-Fied Talent Group
BoneAFiedTalent.com
thechrissyjoy@gmail.com
Bone-A-Fied Talent Group works through highly accredited talent agencies to supply exceptionally trained dogs for film, TV, commercial, and print work. Their Professional Dog Trainers and Performers provide live performances, workshops, and demos at venues worldwide.

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Actor Drew Youngblood to Star in Historical Drama “Elijah and Jack”

Drew-Youngblood-200x300Drew Youngblood has been cast in the starring role of “Elijah” in the historical drama “Elijah and George – A Revolutionary Tale,” produced by 1663 Media Arts, LLC.

Drew is a 10-year-old Atlanta-based actor with the recently co-starring credits, “Stranger Things,” “The Gifted,” “Good Girls,” and the upcoming HBO documentary “Sand Mountain.”

“Elijah and George” follows the adventures of a courageous farmboy and his faithful dog as they encounter famous figures of the American Revolution during a frantic search for his father, a Soldier in the 6th PA Regiment, who has gone missing after the 1778 Battle of Monmouth.

The movie is an adventurous, at-times humorous, heartfelt story steeped in family, freedom and home, with a surprise twist of redemption. According to producer-director-writer Risa Leigh Clarke, the film is akin to “Huckleberry Finn meets The Patriot with historical accuracy woven in.”

An Independent Film, the production is in pre-production and the final funding phase. Clarke aims to begin filming May of 2020 outside of Richmond, Virginia for a Fall 2020 theatrical release.

Youngblood is represented by Gina Henry of MI Talent Atlanta.
For more information about the film, visit ElijahandGeorge.com