Union Station Lobby / Photo Courtesy Union Station Archives
OGDEN, Utah – Issac Goeckeritz, a junior at Weber Sate University majoring in geography, will show his documentary "Ogden: Junction City of the West" for the first time at 7 p.m. on April 25 at Peery's Egyptian Theater (2415 Washington Blvd.).
Goeckeritz started the project three years ago after visiting Union Station and talking with a volunteer, Grant Gibson, who had lived in Ogden during the height of train travel. "He had all these amazing stories of Union Station and 25th Street, so I decided to get it on tape," Goeckeritz said.
After that interview with Gibson, Union Station administrators contacted Goeckeritz about producing a film featuring stories from all of their volunteers. "Originally, it was just going to be a short film for the museum to show to visitors," he said. "But after doing the interviews, I decided there was more to tell."
The film focuses on the transition of Ogden from a small farming community to a major hub for cross-country travelers on the transcontinental railroad, highlighting the history of Union Station, 25th Street and the lives of local politicians and citizens. Research for the film took Goeckeritz to the National Archives in Washington, D.C., two years ago, looking for video of that era. The film also includes photos from museums throughout the United States.
Goeckeritz said he enjoyed learning about a time he never experienced. "I discovered this romantic era for the city, and I had a desire to capture its history," he said. "Ultimately, it's the story of individuals from that time and our connection to them."
Other projects Goeckeritz has been involved with include work for Habitat for Humanity, ESPN, HBO, the United Way, Globous Relief Fund, United Families International, the Cathedral of the Madeleine and Madeleine Choir School.
"Ogden: Junction City of the West" is narrated by Phil Riesen, a former KTVX television anchor who currently serves as a representative in Utah's state legislature, and was co-written by James Findlay and Goeckeritz.
Funding for the documentary came from several sources including Union Station and an undergraduate research grant from Weber State.
Tickets to the premiere are $11.50. Following the film, there will be a signing and reception with live music by Joe McQueen and Friends, an art exhibit and ice cream.
DVDs also will be sold for $20 at the reception, as well as at Union Station, The Bookshelf in Ogden and igfilms.com. All proceeds from the DVD sales will help fund Goeckeritz's next project, which will examine post-traumatic stress syndrome in homeless military veterans.
There will be a second showing on May 7 at 6 p.m. at Union Station. Goeckeritz said the documentary also will be shown on KUED and possibly other PBS affiliates.
Visit weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.