Academy Award winner making Tomahawk documentary film

For the Tomahawk Leader

TOMAHAWK – A documentary film about the City of Tomahawk is in the works.

John Newcombe, Los Angeles, Calif.-based, Academy Award-winning filmmaker, is helming the project about Tomahawk’s history.

The film’s working title is Tomahawk: The Story of a City Among the Pines.

Newcombe, whose short film Lovestruck won the Academy Award for Student Films Mid-Atlantic Region, was recruited to the Tomahawk project by the film’s producer, Clay Schmit, a Tomahawk native who recently retired back to the area.

Newcombe. Contributed photo.

Newcombe has visited the area twice and will return several times as he films local scenes and does research for the film, which will feature historical area photographs, video scenes from around the area and interviews with local residents knowledgeable about the city’s history.

Schmidt said the purpose of the film is to “celebrate the remarkable history of our city and to tell the story of how Tomahawk has developed into a vibrant and thriving community today.”

“This will be the eighth film project that John and I have worked on together,” Schmidt stated. “We met 15 years ago in Los Angeles and began producing historical films then. I just knew that telling the Tomahawk story would appeal to John.”

Newcombe said he is excited about the project.

“I love this town,” Newcombe stated. “I would love to live here.”

Fundraising for the film is currently underway.

“The budget for the film is about $100,000.00, but we are off to a very good start,” Schmit said.

Schmidt has established a new 501c3 organization called the Tomahawk Historical Film Project, which allows for donations to be tax deductible.

Newcombe will return to the area this summer and again in the fall to continue filming interviews and to do local research. Then, he will return to his studio in California, where he will write the script and edit the parts into a 45-minute documentary film. It is expected to be completed and premiered in the spring of 2025.

When completed, the film will be debuted several times in Tomahawk and made available to the public on various websites. The premier showings of the film will be open and free to the public. The film will also be made available to local businesses to promote the area and to encourage tourism.

Those who want to know more about the project or are interested in providing financial support or historical documentation can contact Schmit at 715-496-1957.

To view sample clips of Newcombe’s work, visit

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