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German film crew visits Gering
July 18, 2013 Jerry Purvis   

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Photo by Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen - From left: Peter Sengotta, Karl Teuschl and Dion Mieske, a film crew from Germany, were in Gering last weekend. They’re producing a documentary on the Oregon Trail for broadcast on one of the German television networks later this year.

Three residents of Germany were in Gering last week on a mission – to film a documentary on the history of the Oregon Trail.
Director Karl Teuschl, cameraman Dion Mieske and audio engineer Peter Sengotta started filming in St. Louis and headed west on their way to Portland, with stops in Guernsey, Ft. Laramie and Casper, among others.

The crew had filmed a number of documentaries in Europe before coming to America two years ago to produce one on the Santa Fe Trail. Last week they were back in the states for 2½ weeks to cover the Oregon Trail.

“We’re traveling the whole trail,” said director Karl Teuschl. “We’re looking for what’s left of the old trail and seeing what’s there today.”

Once completed, the 45-minute documentary will air in Germany, Austria and Switzerland around Christmastime.
“Lots of people in Europe are interested in Western American history,” Teuschl said. “Some of that interest comes from movies and books. And it was European immigrants who came to America. Thousands of people made that trek west and endured real hardship to find a better life.”

Teuschl said the crew got a taste of what life must have been like for the emigrants while they filmed at the Oregon Trail Wagon Train near Bayard. Between the heat, dealing with irritable horses and getting stuck with nettles, they came to appreciate the determination of the early emigrants. A testament to that determination became clear to them when they made a stop at the Ash Hollow Cemetery.

One of the views the team found especially impressive was the drive from Ogallala to Gering, seeing the river from the surrounding bluffs.

“The American spirit is something really great,” said cameraman Dion Mieske. “This is such a large country. The change of countryside in Europe happens much faster. Here you seem to travel endlessly. Of course, Germany might be about the size of Nebraska.”

The crew’s next project will take them to France next year to film a documentary on the 100th anniversary of World War I.
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