"I come from a people here who have overcome the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1873, the oil and gas and banking crash of the 1980s and have overcome some really hard times, and we just keep ticking," Broyles said. "And I don't think people know we have that resiliency."
The first installment of the "Shape of Shreveport" documentary series will premiere 7 p.m. June 4 at The Strand Theatre in downtown Shreveport.
Chris Lyon, producer, said the first four episodes, averaging at 15 minutes each, will give new takes on historic events and stories.
"They're going to see things they might have known before but didn't know the true story," Lyon said.
The series will highlight events in the city's founding, music, business booms and busts, the role in the Civil Rights Movement and more. The series as a whole will be compiled of 15 to 20 episodes released over the next year.
"We formed the 'Shape of Shreveport' series because we wanted to educate people on what makes Shreveport unique and a good place," Broyles said. "It's easy to hear the bad parts about it. We hear that all the time. It's an attempt to tell about the positive side."
John Andrew Prime, a Times reporter and historian, contributed to two episodes — one about the Yellow Fever epidemic, showing at the premiere, and another about the building of Barksdale Air Force Base, showing at a later date. The Times colleague, Scott Ferrell, was also interviewed and will be featured in an upcoming episode about sports.
Prime, Ferrell and and other historians' archival research was used throughout the series.
"As people grow and live and learn they acquire a smattering of history that forms their reservoir of knowledge," Prime said. "So by the time they are in their 20s, most people have a sense of the history of their community. But in many cases it can be lacking or skewed by the source and bias or agenda of the sources."
The Shape of Shreveport filmmakers went straight to the sources to uncover untold stories. Prime said, when researching history, it's best to rely on primary sources, such as letters, diaries, photos, official reports or publications that reported at the time on the events.
Broyles said he hopes this will help current and future generations living in the city create an identity for Shreveport. Growing up in the city, he said he's seen neighborhoods become disconnected from each other with residents unaware how their homes rose up through history.
"There's this hunger for more and there's some people doing some great things here," he said. "If we can create this series and bring them together with a mutual understanding of who Shreveport is, at least people will have some commonality… If the people who live here don't have a common strain, we won't have a common vision."
Prime said the hope is the audience leaves the theater inspired, energized, educated and entertained. He also hopes it will motivate people to pursue their own search into the city's history.
The filmmakers said they'll donate the films to local museums, libraries and university archives. Broyles also hopes to work with Caddo and Bossier Parish schools to incorporate the series in a class curriculum and make a "Shreveport History Month" to celebrate and learn about the city.
The documentary series is also planned to serve to attract tourism, residents and businesses. Lyon said unlike larger cities like New York City and Dallas, Shreveport's history isn't as accessible, but hope the documentary will spark new interest and show of the possibilities.
"Shreveport's history isn't readily available on tap," Lyon said. "There are plenty of good things to talk about in Shreveport and things that if we knew the reality of what happened we can better prepare for the future."
If you go :
What: The Shape of Shreveport premiere
Where: The Strand Theatre, 619 Louisana Avenue, downtown Shreveport
When: 7 p.m., Thursday
Cost: $20 (proceeds benefit The Strand Theatre
The Roving Reporter