Red Wing gets German spotlightThis fall, the American Queen and her sister ship, Queen of the Mississippi, have brought hundreds of tourists to Red Wing as the paddle boats dock and refuel in Levee park.
By: Sarah Gorvin, The Republican Eagle
This fall, the American Queen and her sister ship, Queen of the Mississippi, have brought hundreds of tourists to Red Wing as the paddle boats dock and refuel in Levee park.
But this past weekend, three of those tourists — with their German accents and heavy HD film equipment — stood out slightly from the rest.
They were director Alexander Stenzel, cameraman Oliver Staubi and audio technician Delf Reusch. The trio, who are creating a documentary about the paddleboats and the Mississippi River for a German public television series, spent Saturday and Sunday filming in Red Wing and at the mouth of Lake Pepin.
“It’s a beautiful little town,” Stenzel said.
Red Wing will be one of only five cities featured in the documentary. Stenzel said the decision to come here was “quite easy.”
“I knew that the American Queen would stop here and I wanted to film at least (some of the city),” he said.
But when Stenzel traveled to Red Wing in early September to scope out possible filming locations, he met city of Red Wing Environmental Officer Paul Drotos.
“He just happened to run into me,” Drotos said. “I was working.”
Stenzel’s initial idea was to simply rent a boat in Red Wing and get some shots of the American Queen as it left Levee Park. But after a brief tour of the city from Drotos, Stenzel decided he wanted to give Red Wing more time in the documentary.
“We have to film some more in Red Wing,” Stenzel said. “The city itself.”
With that plan in mind, the crew arrived with the American Queen in Red Wing on Saturday morning. Once the boat docked, Drotos picked up the filmmakers and took them to Memorial Park, where they could get aerial shots of the American Queen and Red Wing.
“It’s really easy on a hill,” Staubi said of filming. “You can really see the landscape. … The colors are beautiful.”
Then, the crew got some shots of the paddleboat from the Eisenhower Bridge before jumping on a yacht – owned by Jay Lampland — to film the paddleboat’s take-off.
“Saturday was pretty much devoted to the Queen,” Drotos said.
On Sunday, Drotos took the crew to Wacouta to film the mouth of Lake Pepin. Drotos also got the opportunity to talk on camera about how the lake is in danger of being filled in with sediment and the work that is being done to stop it.
“We wanted to tell part of that story,” he said.
From there, the crew returned to Red Wing and got shots of the historical downtown area, John Rich Park and the flagship Red Wing Shoe Co. store.
“Red Wing Shoes are well-known in Germany as well,” Stenzel said.
After the completed documentary airs in Germany, Drotos said he hopes it will help bring more visitors to the area.
“The Mississippi River is one of the top five destinations for foreigners,” Drotos said. “I can’t help but think that this is going to be very good for tourism.”
Now, the crew will continue down the Mississippi with the American Queen, filming in three other cities before reaching their destination in New Orleans.
“The purpose is to show many different landscapes,” Stenzel said.
The documentary will air on German public television (what Stenzel calls “the BBC of Germany”) in January. The crew will send a copy of the film back to Red Wing, and Drotos said it will be played on Channel 6.