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George Washington's First War
The Battles for Fort Duquesne


  • 2004 Copper AXIEM™ Award issued by the AXIEM Awards Committee in the category of Educational Television
  • 2004 Platinum Best of Show Aurora Award in the category of Writing from the Aurora Awards, Salt Lake City
  • 2004 Silver Telly Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Telly Awards Committee in Cincinnati
  • 2003 Finalist Winner's Certificate, WorldMedal Round, awarded by the New York Festivals in New York City
  • 2003 CINE Golden Eagle Award issued by the Council of International Nontheatrical Events in Washington, D.C.


Like documentaries popularized by PBS filmmaker Ken Burns...George Washington's First War is a pleasure to watch.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
May 23, 2003

Costumed actors, filmed on location, reenact the brutal raids and bloody battles; theatrically read letters and journals personalize the battles. High-school students and history buffs will get caught up in the dramatic narration and compelling action scenes.

October 15, 2003


School Library Journal
November, 2003

...Made with dramatic action scenes illustrating battlefield action...Portrays Washington in the unfamiliar role of a soldier on the fringe of the colonies rather than a statesman.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
May 20, 2003


George Washington's First War: the Battles for Fort Duquesne, picks up where When the Forest Ran Red ends. Braddock's army has been annihilated. British colonists recoil in fear as French & Indian guerrilla warriors invade. It is left to one man, the 'retired' George Washington, all of 25 years old, to pull together defenses for 500 miles of colonial frontier.

George Washington's First War enjoyed a gala premiere in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Wednesday, May 21, 2003. An independent production, the film captures the people, places, and times of George Washington's French & Indian War, and serves educational initiatives and communities alike, building awareness of the "first true world war" and spurring tourism to historic sites.

George Washington's First War is available on collector's edition DVD and VHS. Production began in May 2002, as scores of living historians from four states and a production crew of 15 converged on Raccoon Creek State Park in Western Pennsylvania to create key action sequences of the French and Indian War from 1755 to 1758. The team used three state-of-the-art cameras to capture some spectacular images. Paladin then pursued a rigorous shooting schedule that culminated in March 2003, and included production in all seasons, and in five states. Locations included the historic Daniel Boone Homestead in Birdsboro, Bucks County, PA, where 1,500 period-accurate living historians gathered for large-scale battle reenactments. Shooting also took place in New York, Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina, with small and large casts.

Highlighting the production was the discovery of Bryan C. Cunning as young George Washington, a role he would reprise in other Paladin productions. He would also go on to model for a statue of Washington, and appear in paintings by acclaimed artists John Buxton and Andrew Knez, Jr.

George Washington's First War features the commentary of an outstanding lineup of historians, including:

• Dr. Fred Anderson, Francis Parkman Prize winner for his best-selling work, Crucible of War (Alfred A. Knopf, 2000)

• Dr. Stephen Brumwell, author of the current bestseller, Redcoats: The British Soldier and the War in the Americas, 1755-1763 (Cambridge University Press, 2002)

• Dr. Paul Kopperman, author of the landmark Braddock at the Monongahela (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1977)

• Dr. John Mohawk, member of the Seneca Nation and author of Utopian Societies (Clear Light Publishers, 2000)

• Bruce Egli, Pittsburgh-area colonial historian and educator

• Dr. Yvonne Dion-Buffalo, Native American scholar at the State University of New York at Buffalo

• Edmond N. Gaudelli, President Emeritus of the Fort Pitt Museum Associates

In addition, the film features the art of:

Robert Griffing

John Buxton

Nat Youngblood

Lee Teter

Andrew Knez, Jr.

Robert Adamovich


Production team members participating in both When the Forest Ran Red and George Washington's First War include writer/director Robert Matzen, producer Mary Matzen, editor and creative partner Tom Wilson, supervising director of photography Richard K. Schutte (with the help of cinematographers Mark Knobil, David Manganelli, and Brian Kness), special effects team leader Eric Henciak, musical group Broadside Electric, and narrator Michael Rothhaar. Joining the team for this new documentary is musical director Chuck Krepley, who has supervised the studio recording of more than 60 pieces of period music for the project.

George Washington's First War features the further adventures of George Washington set amidst the struggle for the Ohio country between three empires--Britain, France, and the Native Americans. Key plot elements include the terror campaign against English colonials, the story of Mary Jemison, the ascension of William Pitt to power, the Kittanning Raid, the Battle of Grant's Hill, Washington's friendly fire incident, and the final days of Fort Duquesne.

Impressive characters portrayed in the film include French Governor-General Vaudreuil, commandant of Fort Duquesne Marchand de Ligneris, the Indian sachem Captain Jacobs, missionary Christian Frederick Post, and British luminaries General John Forbes, Colonel Henry Bouquet, and Major James Grant. America's Postmaster-General Benjamin Franklin also appears, as does British Prime Minister William Pitt.

In addition to VHS and DVD versions of the film, the nation's only multimedia education kit for the French & Indian War serves teachers at the secondary school and college levels. This French & Indian War education kit meets Pennsylvania and national secondary school standards for social studies.

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