Filmmaker’s series inspired by FM author’s book | The Hawk Eye – Burlington, Iowa

Terence Gordon is a man of many talents – one which draws him to Fort Madison.

Born in England, he was schooled and raised in a military family in South America. While on an airplane, the Captain gave him a pair of gold wings and showed him the cockpit. “… and I think my fate was sealed there to some extent.”

He came to America at the age of 18 and spent eight years in the US Army (six years in the signal Corp and two years in military intelligence) in New York. He attended both college and general aviation flight school, studying engineering and computer science. This path led to his career at Morgan Stanley in New York.

One of his duties was to create an elaborate video to make a presentation. Gordon said it was obvious to his boss that he loved that, so the boss offered him a deal that as long as he got his work and projects done, they’d make time for him to go to NYU to study film.

After completing the directors program specializing in film directing, he never looked back.

“The narrative has so much power in storytelling.” In 2001, he created TnG Films LLC and started directing commercials and music videos “lots and lots of videos” as well as documentary films.

He moved to the Carolinas to pursue this passion as well as aviation. After finishing his military obligation in the Army, he volunteered for the Air Force Flying Air Search and Rescue as a Captain.

Gordon, a member of Rotary in South Carolina, told the Fort Madison Rotarians on Tuesday that “those have been part of my love. Aviation and also making films. That’s why I’m here.” He found his connection to Fort Madison when he optioned a book written a few years back by Beth Rondeau Deacon (“my better half,” wife of Rotarian Jeff Deacon.)

The book, entitled “Seven Doors in: One Teacher’s Mission Within Prison Walls” is Beth’s story of her three years teaching inmates in the Iowa State Penitentiary. Always on the lookout for good projects, Gordon optioned this book with the hopes of making a documentary.

Once he began working on it, he realized that it had way too much information to fit into a documentary and changed this plan to creating a series. “Just finished writing 10 episodes and right now we’re just fine tuning that. We’ve got a Hollywood company involved to co-produce along with TnG Films and hopefully in February or March, it goes before the studios to look for funding.”

Although this story begins and ends in Fort Madison; he’s unable to do the filming here. Gordon shares that there’s a lot that goes into creating a series: setting up sound stages, etc. “I tried to get the prisons down here, but they haven’t been as cooperative in dealing with that. And tax incentives aren’t the best here as it is in, say, Atlanta or New York or New Jersey. And for investors, including the studios; that’s an important aspect when they’re putting in lots of money.”

As usually happens in this business, Gordon says of the series “it’s inspired by her (Deacon’s) work, but its not a complete adaptation of that book. So we’ve taken a lot of creative liberties in terms of… building characters.” But he wants to show a lot about what Deacon has done. “It’s important to have this series because it shows that there are some people that deserve second chances. That each of us can make a difference in somebody’s life. When I come down here, I take the liberty to visit the prisons and visit some of those students and be able to develop a connection. They’re still human beings… being able to understand that from the inside out was important.”

Gordon is excited about this project and says “we feel very confident and feel that by year end, we can have this.”

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