I started making videos in high school. I wrote, directed and acted in a public service advertisement for a local community cable TV station. There were some other goofy projects as well. How I veered from film into theater and stayed there for so long is a topic for another time.
They say artists shouldn’t hide their brush strokes. I’ve done a lot of messing around in the past decade with movies. One of those experiments led to a short documentary, “Becoming Colonel Cullmann.” It was shown at the Sidewalk Film Festival.
I’ll be making more films in the future. Look on my home page for more information as it happens. You can also visit my IMDB page, because I have one.
Larry Rowlette is not from Cullman, Alabama. He doesn’t live there now; yet he spends an extraordinary amount of time portraying the town’s founder, Colonel Cullmann. He isn’t even paid. So why does he do it?
This question haunted me when I moved to Cullman. The more I learned about Colonel Cullmann, the more curious I became. He put so much energy into his role. Indeed, his portrayal required enormous energy, planning and effort. It was similar to what I saw from professional actors throughout the country.
Historical re-enactors provide a tremendous service to our communities. They make history come alive, helping others to understand the past and what brought us to this point today.
The real Colonel Cullmann fled an oppressive Bavarian regime in the 1860s, finally settling his new colony in 1873. He was a civil engineer, avid reader and lover of a good time – much like Rowlette, an electrical engineer and lover of books who dances with any willing participant at Oktoberfest and plays a drum kit in his home to unwind.
Public historian and re-enactor Annette Laing, Ph.D., explains that many re-enactors just love to entertain their audience and bring their characters a three-dimensional portrayal that makes them real and relatable to people of today.
By the way, I also wrote about how he prepares for his role. “‘In the beginning I did a lot of research. Read newspapers. There were two or three books, not a lot. And really what was difficult in the beginning is that a lot of the information in the books contradicted other books… So in the beginning there just wasn’t a lot of detailed information. It’s not like he kept very detailed diaries or logs about what was going on,’ says Rowlette.”