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Williams Wharf becomes movie set for ‘Harriet’

Filmmakers descended on Williams Wharf in Mathews earlier this week, turning the historic property into a bustling 19th century dock for the filming of the movie “Harriet” about the life of abolitionist Harriet Tubman.

Large swaths of canvas-looking fabric were erected in front of the two-story boathouse to obscure it from view, the modern concrete dock was made to look like an old wooden dock, and covered wagons and accoutrements were placed all along the shoreline. Extras dressed in Civil War-era clothing wandered all around the grounds as horses waited patiently to play their part in the film.

One of those on the set was Gwynn’s Island resident Gary Pilkinton, who lives on a boat at Narrows Marina. He said he has had a 25-year career creating special effects for various films. For this film, he was creating smoke effects to make it appear as though the actors were cooking over outdoor fires. He said the technique involves crushing walnut shells into a fine d...

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