Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Rocktown was among 12 recipients of mini-grants from the Arts Council of the Valley, which recently distributed $6900 in grants. The distribution of the grants, which went to individual artists and organizations as diverse as Thomas Harrison Middle School theater production of "Zink the Zebra," to Next Reflex Dance Collective's project "en Route," to Harrisonburg Rockingham Child Daycare Centers for a children's art exhibit. The Daily News Record reported the full list of recipients and noted that these mini grants are funded through Arts Council of the Valley The Arts Council of the Valley, through funding from the city of Harrisonburg, Rockingham County, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and individual and business donors.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
According to his website, Jim Hightower is "a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author," who "has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks." Right now, he's touring 41 cities in six weeks promoting his new book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, which chronicles the stories of regular folks like you and me who are bucking the system and doing extraordinary progressive work thwarting the powers that be.
We met up with him at the beginning of his book tour, and he graciously agreed to an interview. He was able to put the issues facing Harrisonburg--over-development, loss of green space and small-farm agriculture, loss of culture in the face of big-box store homogenization--into a national context for us. Harrisonburg is Every-Town USA: unfortunately, what's happening to my hometown is happening everywhere. Growth, growth, growth seems to be the only way to define progress. We also presented him with a token of our appreciation: a six-pack of local Paper City Brewery's Ireland Parish Golden Ale, which he was very pleased about.
No sneak peaks of this interview, though--you'll have to wait for the finished documentary! But you can watch our footage of his talk at the Pioneer Valley Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO.
To learn more about Jim Hightower, or to see him speaking as part of his tour, check out his website.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Paper City Films just received notice that we've been awarded a grant from the Arts Council of the Valley to help with the post-production of the Rocktown documentary! The grant will help with costs associated with taking the now 45+ hours of tape we have and editing it down to a 90 to 120 minute documentary.
As part of the grant application, we wrote, "But where do Harrisonburg's citizens stand in relation to all these changes? What is lost and what is gained? Who stands to benefit and who to lose? These are the questions posed by Rocktown: From the Small Town to the Bog Box. I believe they are important questions for a community to collectively ask and that the conversation should include as many diverse voices as possible. It is my sense that in Harrisonburg, and in every city experiencing these same forces, this conversation happens privately, among neighbors, friends and coworkers who feel powerless amidst these changes and view them as a foregone conclusion. I would like to offer this film to the community I grew up in as a way to start a more public, policy and planning oriented dialog in the city about whether Harrisonburg is transforming into a community its citizens want to live in or whether they have concerns about its development and growth."
Thanks to the Valley Arts Council of Virgina for supporting emerging, independent artists.