With two award-winning documentaries on the Amm family so far and a third that’s been nominated for five prizes at the Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards, it might not be surprising that documentarian Kane Farabaugh’s next project is a fourth on the same clan. But Farabaugh said that it was not being feted that interested him as much as advancing the medium of film did.
    “As the saying goes, ‘Past performance is no guarantee of future results,’” he said. “I have to constantly think about how I can push the medium forward or how I can tell a better story or how we can manage these programs in such a way that they’re engaging an audience on a topic that they might not either be aware of or fully informed about.
    “The goal is not to win awards — it’s to make sure we’re telling a story that the audience can relate to, can understand and can learn from. If we’re succeeding in those goals, I’m happy with the product.”
    At the moment, Farabaugh is filming an untitled fourth Amm documentary while the third, “A Golden Cross to Bear: A History of the 33rd Division in World War 1,” is up for five of the regional Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Achievement for a Historical Documentary.
    The first episode of this five-part original documentary series, directed and produced by Kane Farabaugh and his Ottawa-based KaneStar Productions, together with WTVP-TV, initially aired as a special preview during Memorial Day weekend.
    The nominations come as the complete series begins a full broadcast schedule on PBS stations throughout Illinois starting Nov. 2, coinciding with the 100th anniversary commemoration events of World War 1. The Emmys will take place Nov. 10, a day before the centennial anniversary of the armistice treated that brought an end to the fighting in World War I.
    Farabaugh said that “A Golden Cross to Bear” focuses on soldiers who participated in the Meuse-Argonne offensive in France, which he called the bloodiest battle in the history of the U.S. military. It follows Roger Amm, grandson of Gustave Amm who served in the 131st Infantry Regiment, as he embarks on a global quest to honor his grandfather.
    While there’s an emphasis on the personal side of discovery for Roger Amm, Farabaugh noted that Gustave Amm is used as a vehicle to explore a much wider scope of the war, and how it affected generations of Americans and Germans both.
    “Gustave actually had a cousin that fought in the war — on the side of the Germans,” Farabaugh said. “They weren’t very far from each other when Gustave Amm’s cousin was killed in action. Roger discovered this in the course of filming, so our journey to Europe was much more comprehensive and engaging than what we had even thought it would be.”
    The Ottawa-based documentarian said he was currently in Germany, wrapping up filming for the “A Golden Cross to Bear: A History of the 33rd Division in World War 1,” the five episodes of which will air Nov. 2, Nov. 9, Nov. 16, Dec. 7 and Dec. 14.
    But not one to rest on his laurels, Farabaugh noted that he’s also doing filming for his next project, which he said will be a followup to “The Greatest Honor,” a documentary about Roger Amm’s father, John Amm, who served in World War II.
    “When we came here for ‘A Golden Cross,’ we realized that there was also quite a bit more story to tell about John, Roger’s father,” he said. “It’s exciting to continue working with Roger, and continuing to learn about his family’s story.”