Ex-Disney director producing new drama series

withleevirginiaFrom WithLeeInVirginia.com,

Bob Garner, a well-known former Disney producer and director who has worked with Star Wars creator George Lucas and actress Julie Andrews (Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music), is producing a “behind the scenes” mini-documentary for With Lee In Virginia, a family-friendly Christian audio drama CD that is set during the Civil War and will be released this summer.

Photo: Disney producer Bob Garner, left, with Bill Heid in the studio for the recording of “With Lee In Virginia.”

The project was recorded last week in Hollywood and is the third audio theater CD from Executive Producer Bill Heid and Heirloom Audio Productions.

“Having been in and around the Hollywood industry for many years, writing, producing and directing for major TV networks and film studios, I have come to appreciate TRUE quality and utmost professionalism … exemplified in the people on a given team. This fascinating and intriguing audio drama, With Lee In Virginia is a superb example of all those disciplines mentioned and more!” Garner said.

Said Heid, “Bob’s a legend in Hollywood and I feel honored to have someone of his stature on our team.”

With Lee In Virginia is based on a novel by G.A. Henty and features Academy Award nominee Sean Astin (Rudy, The Lord Of The Rings, The Goonies), Kirk Cameron (Monumental, Fireproof), Chris Anthony (Adventures In Odyssey) and Kelsey Landsdowne (Curious George film). With Lee In Virginia is the third project from Heirloom Audio Productions, which released In Freedom’s Cause in 2014 and Under Drake’s Flag in 2013. Under Drake’s Flag was nominated for two Audie awards for best audio drama and best package design.

Heid founded Heirloom Audio out of a desire to give families positive, Christ-centered entertainment that not only engages the mind but also educates and inspires.

“What we’re trying to do is put Christian faith back into history,” Heid said. “History in our culture has been sterilized and secularized, with the faith of great men and women completely removed from textbooks. These projects are all about putting Christ back into history in a meaningful and exciting way.”

All of Heirloom Audio’s projects are based on real historical events. In Freedom’s Cause told the story of 14th century Scottish hero William Wallace and his fight for independence from England, while Under Drake’s Flag recounted the adventures of 16th century sailor Sir Francis Drake, the first Englishman to circle the globe. The projects have been especially popular among homeschooling families, who view them as a way of making history fun. The productions are now gaining wider audiences as a result of their pure entertainment value and all-star casts.

Garner’s career in Hollywood spans more than 40 years and includes:

  • Producing a documentary about Walt Disney’s life (Walt Disney: Magic Moments).
  • Producing and directing Disneyland: Secrets, Stories & Magic, a 2005 documentary that includes Andrews and Lucas.
  • Co-authoring the 25th anniversary book, Disneyland: The First Quarter Century.
  • Working alongside oceanographer Robert Ballard on the EPCOT Living Seas display now known as “The Seas with Nemo & Friends.” Ballard is best known for discovering the Titanic wreckage.
  • Writing for All in the Family and MASH.
  • Working as a production assistant for The Carol Burnett Show and The Red Skelton Show.

Garner also was responsible for one of the most iconic shots in EPCOT’s history: Mickey Mouse standing on top of the building, waving at the camera. He has said he was surprised he did not get fired for it.

Also working in studio for With Lee In Virginia was cameraman Steve Duval, who has worked as a camera operator for 133 episodes in nine seasons of CBS’ The Amazing Race, beginning in 2006, and also as cinematographer for the National Geographic Channel’s Border Wars in 2010-2011.

This isn’t the first time someone with Disney ties has praised Heirloom Audio’s projects.

Dana Brown, a former Disney Imagineer, called the 2013 production Under Drake’s Flag a “phenomenal production and completely immersive story.”

“From beginning to end, my kids and I were captivated by the characters, the sounds and the adventure,” Brown said. “The level of production is excellent and the story really comes to life. My kids keep begging to hear it over and over again, and each time they notice something new. It has brought the whole family together for some great discussions of character and faith. As a creative person, I love that they are using their imagination to ‘see’ the story as they listen. It’s extremely well-done!”

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