October 21, 2021

Cemetery video promotes tourism

A gate near the former superintendent’s house at the Cortland Rural Cemetery is shown.

Bob Ellis/staff photographer

A gate near the former superintendent’s house at the Cortland Rural Cemetery is shown.

Last week, Cortland Rural Cemetery’s trustees announced the production and release of a 6 1/2-minute-long video promoting the cemetery as a visitor destination.

“We have been working on utilizing the cultural, historical and natural purposes of the cemetery,” said John Hoeschele, president of the board oftrustees.

The promotional video was filmed and produced by Cortland resident Max Hoeschele.

For Max Hoeschele, 23, John Hoeschele’s son, filming and producing the video was not his first time behind the camera. Hoeschele recently moved back to Cortland after working in Plattsburg at NBC affiliate News Channel 5, he said.

After hearing about the idea from his father, Max Hoeschele attended a few board meetings before applying to do the project, he said.

“As head of the board and his father, I stepped out of thedeliberations on picking someone,” John Hoeschele said. John Hoeschele said he recommended his son to the board because of his experience. Max was chosen by the board after a meeting, John Hoeschele said.

Max Hoeschele estimates he spent 10 hours filming and 10 to 15 hours of post production, all to arrive at the end resultof a 6 1/2-minute-long final product.

The hardest part of filming the cemetery was attempting to convey a warm and welcoming light, Max Hoeschele said.

“People already have a conception that cemeteries are drab or dull, scary places,” Max Hoeschele said. “I tried to give the sense of a vibrant and welcoming place to be.”

While preparing for filming, Max Hoeschele said his father gave him a list of notable locations in the cemetery that highlight it well.

“The rest of the time, it was a lot of exploring and looking around,” Max Hoeschele said.

“Through this project I wanted to show that Cortland is a cool place to be,” he said.

The video cost about $1,500 and was funded through Cortland County’s occupancy tax revenues. Filming for the video began in early July and the project was wrapped up the beginning of last week, John Hoeschele said.
The main focus of the video is to promote the cemetery and the walking trails, buildings and monuments it encompasses, John Hoeschele said.

The cemetery is also the site of hosted events. Concerts and theater productions, like the Tioughnioga River Anthology, have previously been held atthe cemetery to promote the place as a tourist destination. The cemetery currently attracts around 30 to 50 visitors weekly, John Hoeschele said. The video will hopefully increase that number.

The production will be distributed through the cemetery’s website, the county’s tourism office, and social media, according to the release.

The Cortland Rural Cemetery comprises 44 acres and was established in 1853, according to the release. Winding drives, individual graves, family mausoleums and groups of monuments are featured at the cemetery, which honors the 19th century concept of a rural or garden cemetery.

The video can be viewed and more can be learned about the cemetery at its website, www.cortland-rural-cemetery.com.