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This release maybe printed to local printer and used in publications and articles dealing with "Gift of Heritage®"

To: Family, Entertainment and Lifestyle Editors
Minneapolis, Minnesota
February 17, 2005


Have you ever wondered what to do with those old family photographs, slides, home-movies and video footage collecting dust in the back of the closet? Mary Lou Peterson's Gift of Heritage®, a video that offers a new challenge for both camcorder enthusiasts and historians, may be just the answer!

Mary Lou was one of five recipients of the CREATIVE THINKING ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA™ 1992 National Recognition Awards for her creation, an instructional video encouraging the preservation of family history and memories on videotape.

The concept for Gift of Heritage originated with a personal project several years ago, when Mary Lou, a Minneapolis grandmother, retired manager at AT&T, and video novice, decided to commit her family's genealogical tree, history, stories, and old photographs to videotape. The project mushroomed and soon she was incorporating titles to identify the photographs, and dubbing in background music, sound effects and narration to help tell the story of her family leaving Norway and settling in the Midwest.

The end result was a family documentary that brought the family tree to life! It was shared and appreciated by all current generations of her immediate and extended family at its monumental, 50th reunion. Members of her family told her that they felt they had taken a journey back into the past, where they had met their ancestors face-to-face and learned about their lives and experiences. Many relatives requested copies of the video to hand down to future generations. What a wonderful gift of their heritage!

Mary Lou had found no resources available to guide her through the development of her family-history video. So she made notes about all the roadblocks she encountered and how she overcame them, and decided to use her own experience to help others who might be interested in recording their family histories on videotape.

This led to the production of Gift of Heritage, an information-packed instructional video filled with wonderful ideas on how to create a family documentary. It takes the viewer through the process to begin the research, plan and organize the materials, combine the family-tree information, photographs, slides, home-movie and video footage, how to conduct family interviews, and effectively tell the family's story. Gift of Heritage also points out that a written script, along with labeled and numbered materials, will help minimize frustration during the actual videotaping process.

In Gift of Heritage, Mary Lou incorporates several examples from her own family documentary to illustrate a point or suggest a method. Watching Gift of Heritage will get viewers' creative juices flowing by convincing them that they can create their own family documentaries. Ideas will start to blossom and viewers will begin to think about what they may want to include, and how they can make the best use of their valuable time by enlisting the aid of other family members who can provide needed information, photos or other contributions.

By using some less-than-perfect footage from her own family-tree video she hopes Gift of Heritage will encourage others to use what they have available. Such a video project doesn't have to look like a major motion picture. And while a simple production style won't take a lot of time and money, it will produce a quality video featuring your own family history: a tape that can be proudly handed down to future generations. What a great way to communicate with your descendants!

Gift of Heritage is not just for videographers and family historians. Mary Lou's goal in having produced Gift of Heritage is that, through it, people will find a new hobby -- one that will not only include resources from their immediate families, but also from their extended families.

Mary Lou said, "In modern times, when families are separated by time and distance, it takes more effort to retain family values and traditions. A sense of belonging -- of connection is what ties the past to the future."

Members of a blended family can enhance their individual sense of belonging through watching this family-tree video because it allows them to recognize and appreciate their own positions in the family structure. According to Mary Lou, "Creating your own family documentary will provide immeasurable pride, curiosity, enlightenment, and entertainment. In addition, recording the story on video is a way to encourage younger family members, already so used to the video medium, to learn about their family history."

Most families have plenty of photos and interesting stories told by older relatives, enabling them to easily put together their own colorful family history on video; a history that links the immediate and extended family to their past and gives them a sense of continuity and tradition.

Families may include video or genealogy hobbyists who are particularly excited about participating in such a project. If no one in the family can do the final video production, this could be handled by a professional video service.

A family gathering or a reunion is the perfect place to start the project (and, later, to entertain members with it). At such get-togethers, ask family members to share stories and photographs for the whole family to enjoy before such treasures are lost forever!

The concept of recording our history works not only for families, but also for businesses, organizations, religious and ethnic groups, communities and other groups that may want to document their histories, or special events. As an example, ethnic groups could use it to detail their migration, focus on some of their early pioneers, and illustrate the hardships the group has endured and overcome. Gift of Heritage was first introduced in the May 1992 issue of Camcorder & Computer Video Magazine, and is now being marketed worldwide.

The cost of Gift of Heritage is $14.95 plus shipping & handling. (USA only) All foreign orders require additional shipping and handling costs. All major credit cards are accepted. To Order: Call (800) 774-8511 or (612) 726-9432 or send check, money order or credit card information to: Mary Lou Productions P.O. Box 17233, Minneapolis, MN 55417. Minnesota residents add 6.5 percent sales tax, plus any appropriate city tax. All payments must be in U.S. funds. Videotapes are available in the NTSC system and VHS format only. Taxes, duties and other customs charges are the responsibility of the customer. For more information and other family history products available call; 6127269432 or visit the Web site http://www.giftofheritage.com.

The Gift of Heritage product line includes exciting family history resources. They consist of ideas for enhancing family reunions/gatherings, scrapbooking, ethnic resources, games to encourage sharing of memories with your family members, how to create a family: newsletter, design & publish a Web site; how to conduct family interviews, find your roots, preserve the past, shoot family videos, write your life story, and computer aids, plus much more! To contact Mary Lou Peterson call (612) 726-9432, FAX (612) 727-2705 or E-mail marylou@giftofheritage.com.


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