American Frontier Productions

Today on Around Kansas, Deb is on the property of American Frontier
Productions meeting with Wes Studi, Robert Cowboy Culbertson, Dick
Deshon, and Judy Coder. Come with as we step back in time and into a
painting of sorts. Right here where the west was started and surrounded
by re-enactors that bring real faces and authenticity to future works of art.
Artists from around the country have come here to capture moments in
history that they will soon share with the world. You won’t want to miss
it…so stay tuned.

Closed Captioning brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission.
The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.

(Deb) Hi. Welcome to Around Kansas. I’m your co-host, Deb Bisel and
we’re here in gorgeous Easton, Kansas on the property of American Frontier
Production, visiting with Wes Studi and, Wes, wonderful to have you.
(Male) Oh, it’s great to be here, Deb. (Deb) Aren’t you something? I’m just
so tickled to be here with you. Now, Wes, you’re visiting for the weekend
for a special project they’ve got going on here, so why don’t you tell us
what you’re doing. (Male) They have a special project going on here this
weekend and it’s the initial. This is the debut of American Frontier
Production, a photo-shoot for artists and it’s well developed for models as
well as photographers and they have a great package put together for still
photography, for mainly painters at this point in time and I happened to be
visiting and, of course (Deb) And you’re just so photogenic. You’re one of
the models. (Male) Yeah, I’m one of the models; I’m one of the models and
I blame Robert Cowboy Culbertson for that. He and I met a number of years
ago here in Kansas shooting a film called The Only Good Indian. (Deb)
Fantastic film by Kevin Wilmot. (Male) Wilmot, Kevin Wilmot directed
that, at least he likes to say he did. In any case, so Robert Cowboy, he lured
me into this really great entrepreneurial endeavor and it’s an initial one. He
and Dick Deshon, they put together this great western town, along with the
livery and wonderful spots all over this property where photographers can
get some really great shots of what we’re doing right are a lot of mountain
men and Indians from the 1800’s, I believe, that time period and we’re
having a great time. (Deb) What’s important about this? Why bother? What
does it matter that people can come out and get realistic settings for art
and, you know, what’s the point? (Male) Well art should reflect a certain
amount of reality, I think, and I think this property, these buildings and
the set that Cowboy has built is authentic to the point of almost going
overboard, you know, but you can see from the fences and all, you know,
they can be made to look extremely period and that’s what artists want is
something that they can actually reflect on in terms of course, and
there’s a great light here as well and developing business, right? (Deb)
Right. (Male) It’s a developing business and God knows that America needs
that at this point in time, huh? (Deb) Absolutely. America needs business
and Kansas is right in the center of it, so that’s a great thing.

(Deb) Welcome to Around Kansas. I’m your co-host, Deb Bisel and we’re here
with Robert Cowboy Culbertson, right in front of the corral and, Cowboy,
what an awesome place. (Male) Thank you. (Deb) So tell us what you’re doing
here. (Male) Well we’re actually it’s actually designed as a movie set and
then we also do photo-shoots for western artists so they can get period
correct material for their period paintings. (Deb) You know when I was in
high school and college, I never in any of those career books did I see
anything about this, so where on earth did you get this idea? (Male) Well
I’ve been working in film since 97 and mostly historic films, and then did
some modeling up in South Dakota and just thought that there was a better
way to do it and, so, a group of guys that I’ve modeled with and worked
with in the past all came together and were building this. (Deb) There’s a
tremendous market right now for western art, so, and I know that you have
some really awesome artists who we’ll visit with some of those artists a
little later, but I know that you’ve got some awesome artists here. What do
you think is the demand, generating that demand for art that depicts the
west? (Male) Authenticity and location and Kansas is a great location. I
mean this is where the west started. The cattle drives ended here. The
wagon trains started here, so we’re just repeating history where it
happened. (Deb) You know I’m so glad you said that because I am such a big
promoter of Kansas history and so many of those iconic stories of the west
and images of the west that have been portrayed in movies over and over,
those stories are from Kansas. (Male) Lots of them and there’s lots that
haven’t been told yet and they need to be. (Deb) Absolutely, they need to
be. Now this is your home, this is the ranch that you live on. Is this
family property? (Male) No. I purchased this place twenty years ago and
been raising cattle and horses and training horses here ever since. (Deb) I
hope nobody died there, just another day out on the ranch. Another one
bites the dust, so you’ve collected some really awesome models here today,
let’s talk about who you have. (Male) I have, well, of course, Wes Studi,
Cody Jones, they’re both actors and then I have a group called The Boys
from Illinois that are mountain men and they can do anything from the
French trapper all the way up to the fur trade. I’ve got Calvary re-enactors
here and a great group of American Indians. I mean we’ve handpicked all of
them, models, actors and just great looking people for the time period
we’re trying to portray. (Deb) I think art is so important. You know before
photographs, art was the way a lot of people learned history. That was all
we had to record it was that art, so I think the art is just a tremendous
way and then having, as you said, the authentic movie set, you know, it’s
so important as people learn a little more about history and, you know,
realize that, and a lot of the westerns that we grew up watching on TV
were pretty off when it came to costumes and a lot of other things.
(Male) Costumes and actually the way it really was. I mean, you know, like
the way that we portray the American Indian, I wasn’t even close in the
westerns that they’ve done in the past and like Wes said, I mean, they just
use them for backdrop and what we’re doing here is were showing actually
the culture and the way that people lived and dressed and it’s something
that like you say, art is another way of documenting things and it’s a
story that needs to be told. (Deb) You know, looking at you, you would not
be a likely person to be promoting art, in a lot of people’s opinions, do
you get that response? (Male) Well I don’t think they paint me because I’m
pretty. It’s a rough look, I mean, the look of a ma out there in the west
who was surviving and he wasn’t out there because it was romantic. It was
just who he was and there’s a lot of great stories there and a lot of
things don’t make it into the history books. (Deb) They sure don’t, but
man, we can rewrite them. (Male) You bet you, you bet you, and we’re doing
our best. (Deb) Thanks so much. We’re gonna be right back. Stay tuned for
more of Around Kansas.

(Deb) Welcome back to Around Kansas. I’m Deb Bisel, your co-host and with
me is Dick Deshon (Male) Yes, and I’m supposed to be the business part of
American Frontier Productions, but actually my relationship goes back a lot
further than just what you see here today. About four years ago, I was
associated with the Pony Express Museum and we were doing the
Sesquicentennial and we were looking for realistic people from the 1860’s.
We also wanted to build all the exhibits and some way or another, I’m like
Wes, I got tied up with Cowboy and Cowboy says, Well I can do that.
(Deb) It just happens eventually. You’re gonna get tied up with Cowboy.
(Male) So he did and, of course, I’m interested in American history and the
more and better I learned about Cowboy I thought, You know what, he is
American history. That’s what we’re trying to preserve, and then when I
heard that Wes was coming, I thought, We’ve got the best of both worlds
coming to Easton, Kansas for this weekend, and really that’s what this is
all about. We’re trying to preserve some of the real history of America and
this is where it occurred, you know, not on a movie set in Hollywood, even
though Wes claims to be from Hollywood. I know he lives in Santa Fe, New
Mexico. He can’t live in Hollywood. They won’t let him live there, but
Cowboy also has eight partners that you don’t see, but without them, none
of this would have happened and this is actually a dream and a vision, not
only of Cowboy, but of those eight men. They build all of this and if you
would go around this ranch here, you’d see a Pony Express Relay Station
there. You’d see a sod hut here. You’d see a wagon train where a horse
died. You’d see teepees over here and there’s just a lot of work that went
into make this happen, but what we want people to know, it’s an opportunity
to do business in Kansas. What we intend, eventually, not today, but
someday, make money on this and it’s gonna happen, have to happen three or
four times, but the people that worked on this, they’ve given part of their
lives to build this. They’ve been here since October when they started out.
They camped on the ground and then each week and each month, these
buildings went up, so finally, they’ve got a suite up there on top of that
hotel they live in now, so some of them, they stay. They may never go home
again, but that’s what (Deb) They may never be able to go home again after
it. (Male) But we’re feeding them three times a day (Deb) Oh, well they’ll
never leave. (Male) And they probably won’t leave until that food burns
out. (Deb) Yeah, exactly. Well I think this is incredible and as you said,
a wonderful asset for the state of Kansas. It’s gonna be a huge draw. It’s
just such an incredible asset and I love the idea that you’re filming
history where history actually happened as Cowboy and Wes said, you know,
this is where the west started and, you know, Kansas, I don’t think, does
enough to claim that. (Male) None of us do and, you know, we think we’ve
got to travel all over the world to see things. We’ve got things that
people have never seen right here, before, and this is gonna be an
opportunity. We’re doing artists today. When they leave now they have to do
original artwork, they can’t do the photography, now, but when they leave,
then Cowboy’s agreed to let video production companies come in. he’ll let
movie companies come in and what we’d like to do is draw our people from
this area to act in those productions and they’re out and maybe after they
see this, they’ll step forward and say, Hey, I want to be a part of that.
(Deb) Well, it’s truly amazing and we appreciate the opportunity to be here
and you’re talking about the progress on the buildings reminds me, I
watched that progress on Facebook, so you can find American Frontier
Production on Facebook, give them a Like and keep up with what’s going on.
(Male) Yes, you can. You can follow everything we’re doing, every time we
build something, Cowboy puts it on Facebook. (Deb) Good job. We’ll be right
back with more of Around Kansas. Thank you so much, Dick.

(Deb) Welcome to Around Kansas. I’m Deb Bisel. We’re at American Frontier
Productions in Easton, Kansas and with me is my good friend Judy Coder.
(Female) Hi. How are you, Deb? (Deb) Judy, it’s so great to have you with
us and I invited you up here to join us today because of like me, you love
the American west, obviously, and you look so good init by the way.
(Female) Well thank you. We’re on our way to a gig this evening. (Deb)
Well, Judy, one of the things that I’m passionate about and I know you are
as well, and obviously Cowboy Culbertson is or, you know, this incredible
set here. Kansas is an integral piece of that story of the American west
and I’m not sure that Kansas has done enough to claim that recently.
(Female) Oh, I’m sure they have not and it’s my hope that as those of us
who really are enthusiasts, get up the courage to go ahead and do something
about it and tell the story, that it will reach an audience that is anxious
to hear it. (Deb) Well it’s a rich story and like we said, Kansas has got a
great piece in it and you just do such a beautiful job of bringing it to
people. (Female) Oh, thank you. To me, the story of Kansas and the story of
the American west is really, it’s the story of hope because people that
came here were hoping for big and wonderful things and Kansas is a big part
of that story. (Deb) What’s important to you as a Native American about
communicating the story of the west? (Male) I think that many times
American Indians are seen only as set dressing for a lot of films and I
think that the art world in itself kind of confronts that assumption and,
you know, we played a large part in the development of this country as it
sits today and I think history should reflect that and I think our artists
here make a great effort to include us other than just set dressing or
something, you know, like some films have done in the past and hopefully
it’s on its way, the idea of American Indians, is on its way out. (Deb)
Well one would hope, you know, and the portrayals that you’ve done, you’re
such an intense actor and you just bring so much to any role you play,
whether it’s, you know, in The Last of the Mohicans or (Male) Are you
hitting on me? (Deb) I could, I could, you know, give it a few more
minutes, but you bring such intensity to your roles and which is really
remarkable and you’ve gotten a lot of recognition for that, well deserved,
and I understand you’re getting another award tomorrow in Oklahoma? (Male)
Actually it’s an award, it’s called the Tate Award in Tulsa, Oklahoma which
is where I actually started out in theatre a number of years ago before
getting into film and television and I did a lot of work on the boards of
the theatre community of Tulsa, decided to get me a Distinguished Artist
Award which I’m more than happy to accept. It’s being accepted by that
group of peers in the business, you know, and theatre is, I think, as far
as I’m concerned, it’s the root, I mean, it’s the base of all acting,
performing, just would not be entertainment were it not there. (Deb) Having
had the experience of being a veteran in combat, a combat veteran, that has
got to inform your acting to a degree that, especially the roles you’ve
chosen. (Male) Actually, Debby, I think all of life feeds into what you can
be able to perform on stage or in front of the cameras and I like to think
that I lived a fairly full life before getting into the business of acting,
if you will and it certainly is a help to have really to have been in real
circumstances that I would portray for film or stage, yeah. (Deb) So what
has, you know, you’ve achieved an incredible amount of success and again,
well-deserved, what are you looking forward to? You know what is there a
big challenge out there that you’d really like to tackle next? (Male) Yeah,
I would like to tackle my first Oscar nominated role in a blockbuster film.
(Deb) Hey, we’re working on that, yeah, we’re working on that. We’re
sending out the film now. We’re gonna start bribing the academy, yeah.
(Male) That would be shallow, but that’s what I want.

Closed Captioning brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission.
The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.

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