Friday, April 27, 2007

WW1 - American Legacy in GI Film Festival


World War 1 American Legacy WW1 WWI World War I

World War 1 – American Legacy has been selected as a finalist in the Best Documentary category at the upcoming GI Film Festival held Memorial Day Weekend. The film will screen at the festival held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC. on Monday, May 28th at 8:00 a.m.

French L'Illustration Magazine Showing America's Entrance into the Great War in 1917

"The mission of the GI Film Festival is simple - to celebrate the successes and sacrifices of the American Armed Forces through the medium of film," said GI Film Festival President Brandon Millett. "From the American Revolution through the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, our men and women in uniform have given life and limb in defense of freedom. They deserve our respect and our undying gratitude. And that is exactly what we plan to show them this Memorial Day weekend."

WW1 Doughboy Statue at Butler Street in Pittsburgh, PA

Producer/Director Mark Bussler said, "I am honored that World War 1 – American Legacy has been selected for the GI Film Festival. The fascinating stories of the American men and women who served in the Great War is not something that is common knowledge anymore. These brave soldiers, nurses and pilots served by the millions to end the conflict in 1918 and in the process changed American culture forever. In less than a year nearly 50,000 Americans were killed in action and that is something that should not be forgotten."

American Soldiers on their way to training for World War One

The GI Film Festival's Hollywood Advisory Committee includes Academy Award winning Actor Ernest Borgnine (From Here to Eternity, McHale's Navy), Actor Chuck Norris (Delta Force, Missing in Action), Academy Award nominated Director John Milius (Apocalypse Now, Red Dawn), Director/Screenwriter Ron Maxwell (Gettysburg, Gods and Generals), Director John Dahl (The Great Raid), Executive Producer Lou Reda (Vietnam: Homecoming) and Dr. Ted Baehr, publisher of Movieguide. For more information about the festival, visit

World War 1 Artillery as painted and featured in L'Illustration in France (World War I)

World War 1 – American Legacy vividly tells the many forgotten stories of the men and women who served in the Great War, reminding Americans of their impact on our country that can still be felt today. Filmed in high definition and full of period music, photographs and monuments, the film includes rare images that have never been seen before on screen, bringing the extreme detail of the Great War to life.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Horses of Gettysburg Radio Interview

You can hear me talk horses on Saturday, April 21st. I was interviewed by Patricia McConnell and Larry Meiller on the nationally syndicated radio show, Calling All Pets. We talked about my recent film, Horses of Gettysburg and about horses in the Civil War. You can view their website here at Calling All Pets.

Mark Bussler at WQED studios in Pittsburgh

The shot above was taken just before recording the interview. The interview was conducted at WQED in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Calling All Pets is based in Wisconsin so we did it over an ISDN studio line. It was a good interview... I think. Maybe? I guess you will have to be the judge of that. They were both very nice and it is always fun to talk about filmmaking and about my experiences working on Horses of Gettysburg. I produced and directed the film which was released in May of 2006. After the initial airing I believe the interview should be posted on their website.

The interview will air on Saturday, April 21st on 90-some stations nationally. You can see if your town can get the show and what time it is HERE.

Horses of Gettysburg DVD

Horses of Gettysburg is available as a 2-DVD box set from your favorite retailer. It contains the two-hour director's cut of the film that was shot in High Definition. It also includes two different commentaries, "making of" shorts and a few interviews with Ronald F. Maxwell, the director of Gettysburg and Gods and Generals (and also the excellent narrator of Horses of Gettysburg!)

Ronald F. Maxwell and Mark Bussler

Ronald F. Maxwell and Mark Bussler at a Horses of Gettysburg DVD signing in Leesburg, Virginia, June 2006.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Westinghouse at the World's Fairs

This week I am working on the Westinghouse script and edit full time. As I've said before in my blog, my next documentary film is on George Westinghouse and his legacy. I am still fairly early on in the production cycle so I have no idea when this will be released yet. It is being filmed in High Definition and features tons of "never before seen on screen" pictures and motion picture footage from the George Westinghouse Museum archives and private collections. The following images on this blog are from the Library of Congress or Inecom Entertainment Archives.

George Westinghouse vs. Thomas Edison… battle of the currents!

The primary focus of the film is the genius and good nature of George Westinghouse. He is considered by many to be America's greatest inventor and America's greatest industrialist. He invented, pioneered or collaborated on everything from the air brake to alternating current electric power, natural gas distribution, railroad switching and interlocking and the marine turbine engine. He went head to head with Thomas Edison in the Battle of the Currents and won. He invented air springs for automobiles and founded dozens of companies, many of which are still around. And through all of this he was a good and decent human being who didn't exploit his workers, ruin their lives for his gain or rip off his shareholders... we could all use a role model like him today.

1939 New York World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows

Another part of the film is extremely interesting and recounts Westinghouse's participation in World's Fairs, starting with the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. In fact we have some photographs of the Westinghouse exhibit there where air brakes were on display. Does the item in the following picture look familiar?

1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia

Westinghouse Electric made a dramatic performance at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago where they won the contract to power the fair with alternating current electricity, beating out Edison's direct current electricity. This is covered in my film, Expo: Magic of the White City (which was released on DVD in 2005 and broadcast on television in 2006) but will be shown in much greater detail in the Westinghouse documentary. Including shots in and about the various Westinghouse exhibits that I don't think have ever been published anywhere.

1904 Louisiana Purchase Exhibition in St. Louis, 1904 World’s Fair

Pictured above is the 1904 fair. And Westinghouse was there again, in force, at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis. This fair was to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803... one year late. Of course the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 was to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus discovering the Americas in 1492... it was also one year late.

1933 Century of Progress Exhibition in Chicago

Although there were some other fairs it wasn't until 1933 at the Century of Progress Exhibition in Chicago that Westinghouse pulled out all the stops and made another amazing demonstration of electric power and mechanical design. To contrast the "White City" of the Columbian Expo, this fair was colorful and designed in an art-deco manner. The Westinghouse mushroom lamps are something to see. The company paid homage to fairs of the past and to their founder, George Westinghouse, who died years earlier in 1914.

Another unique show was put on at the 1936 Great Lakes Exhibition in Cleveland. I’d never even heard of this fair, but the HD pictures are incredible. Westinghouse again displayed its line of electric washing machines, dryers, stoves, vacuums and water heaters. Westinghouse also celebrated their 50th anniversary Golden Jubilee there.

1939 World’s Fair in New York with Elektro and the Battle of the Centuries with Westinghouse

The 1939 World’s Fair in New York is a rather famous one for many great reasons. It’s theme was “The World of Tomorrow!” and featured the Perisphere, the Lagoon of Nations, the Futurama (maybe Leela and Bender were there!), Futuretown, Elektro the Moto-Man, Sparko, Nimatron, the 1939 Time Capsule and the Battle of the Centuries dishwasher contest with the 1937 Miss Missouri, Helen Bennett. The stories and photos from 1939 and 1940 are amazing, as are the unpublished photos of Elektro and the behind the scenes assembly of the Lagoon of Nations.

That’s all for today. This is just the tip of the iceberg with this film. Its going to be something really “swell” as they would have put it in 1939. I’m also working with 1964 World’s Fair footage in 16mm film format but that will be a different post.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

PS3 vs. Xbox360 vs. Sega Genesis

I've been an enthusiastic casual video gamer for the majority of my life. I find them fun, the stories are fun, the action is exciting and I like to relax by doing something mentally stimulating but NOT TOO mentally stimulating....

As I've been working on Classic Game Room recently I recorded the commentary track on the film where I give my opinions on classic video games vs. modern video games.

So this got me thinking... I've seen some pretty cool games available for Xbox360 and the PS3... my friend has the 360 and I've played it and marvelled at the HD graphics and cool games...

I tallied up the price for getting each game system, purchasing one or two games, any accessories I might need.

I had to find answers for the following questions: Is there an online package? Which system do I want? Do I want to get involved in the hideous Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD format war (Nooo!!!) and how much time do I really have to even play a brand new video game system?

The total cost of EACH new system came to somewhere between $500-$800 a piece, and I decided that I don't have time to play it that much and.... well, so screw it!

I went to ebay, dropped $100 and bought a huge stack of Sega Genesis and PS1 games and hooked my Genesis up to our HDTV.

Sega Genesis and Thunder Force III

I recalled that one of my all time favorite game genres that I've neglected recently is the "single spaceship fighting against impossible odds" genre. As I learned just recently this has been nicknamed the SHMUP video game genre, short for "shoot 'em up". I guess I've been out of it for a while. We reviewed of a few of these back in the days we were making Game Room but I just haven't kept up!

Shmup video games for Sega and Playstation!

Here's some of the great games I purchased for about $5 and $2 respectively, Thunder Force V for PS1 and Lightning Force for the Genesis (also known as Thunder Force IV). Anyway, I did some research online one night when trying to figure out how to hook up component video cables to my Sega and came across two great websites: dedicated to all things Sega Genesis, Sega CD and 32x which has a nice section dedicated to Shmup games.

I ended up not getting component cables regrettably. There is an article on Sega-16 on how to do it, but I am temporarily using the composite video cable plug. I found it online for $8. Composite doesn't look great, but it sure beats the RF adapter.

I will eventually have my Genesis modified with an S-Video connection from these guys at Old School Gamer. I'll let everyone know how that looks when its done.

Composite cable from Sega Genesis

There's the composite cable coming out of the back of my Sega Genesis (v1) and I'm using the stereo plug in the front to run into my pre-amp for stereo sound.

Classic Video Gaming at its finest

You can barely make it out in my jumble of wires, its a yellow RCA, it goes into there and gets fed to the TV. My Atari 7800 ProSystem is also running into there via the VCR.

The moral of the story is this: When big companies want you to get involved in a format war where the consumer is the loser, go buy used stuff and continue to use the equipment you've already paid for.

PS2, Atari 7800 and Sega Genesis

And as I said before, I don't have the time to get into a game that takes 80 hours to win or days to master. But I do have the time to play a couple rounds of Thunder Force III, Gradius V and Shinobi. You can pick up those games, play for 20-30 minutes, get a nice game fix and get on with your life.

Now I'm a happy gamer once again and it only cost me about $110 once all is said and done. I probably could have just downloaded emulators for free but I really enjoy playing on the real game systems in the comfort of my home theater.


As I mentioned in the previous post, my newest film has been completed. Classic Game Room - The Rise and Fall of the Internet's Greatest Video Game Review Show.

The trailer can be seen HERE! It can also be seen on YouTube.

I'm moving full time into my next film on George Westinghouse vs. Thomas Edison. An exciting documentary about the Battle of the Currents, world's fairs, Elektro and all kinds of Westinghouse related stories.

I finished writing the script recently and am now starting to cut the film together with archival 16mm film from old Westinghouse promotional movies. I'm working with full color 16mm film from the 1964 World's Fair in New York and also a massive collection of photographs from. Additionally some modern HD footage that we shot. More on that soon. In the meantime this weekend...

Thunder Force III