“The Blood in This Town”, the documentary chronicling Rutland’s record-setting Gift-of-Life Marathon and efforts to revitalize the gritty Vermont city, has been chosen as an Official Selection of the Lake Placid Film Forum, one of the nation’s top 25 film festivals.
The film will be screened Sunday, June 19, at noon. It will be followed by a community-building forum with activists and business leaders from Rutland and Lake Placid, led by Art Jones, the film’s director and president of Great Jones Productions in New York City.
“‘The Blood in this Town’ chronicles Rutland’s drive to revitalize during America’s deep economic crisis, using the city’s remarkable Gift-of-Life blood drive to explore how an ailing rust-belt town can rebuild from the grassroots up,” Jones said. “Rutland’s act of giving blood in record-breaking numbers becomes a powerful symbol of renewal and social change that radiates throughout the community.”
The film is a portrait of a small town in America, and of an America at a pivotal crossroads – where past glories and fading industrial might collide head-on with the urgent need to envision and forge a new way forward. Once a boomtown built on railroads, quarries and manufacturing, Rutland is like thousands of small towns and cities that have declined even in good times, left behind in the wake of globalization.
“Hit by the nation’s economic downturn, Rutland grapples with the highest unemployment in the state, loss of manufacturing jobs and the flight of its young people,” Jones said. “Here, the old America is broken, it’s gone and it’s not coming back – yet Rutland has managed a profound response to uncertain times.”
“The Blood in This Town” takes a hard look at Rutland’s challenges and the response, which includes a boot-strap campaign to build on the community’s assets and build a brighter future. “Ultimately, this is a story about challenges facing town after town in America – but folks in Rutland are making extraordinary efforts to overcome the odds and recreate their community,” Jones said. “Rutland’s efforts are instructive and inspiring, and could provide a way forward for hundreds of similar communities across America.”
“The blood drive, the largest per-capita in the United States, produces a glimmer a hope, a realization that folks here can dream big and can overcome long odds,” Jones said.
Moviemaker, the world’s largest independent magazine on the film industry, lists Lake Placid as one of the top 25 film festivals in the world. Since its start in 1999, the festival has hosted industry icons ranging from Martin Scorsese and Hal Holbrook to independent film darlings Parker Posey and Steve Buscemi.
The post-film “community-building” forum – part of the film’s larger Outreach Program – will feature Rutland grassroots leaders Paul Gallo (Rutland Creative Economy), Michael Smith (Pine Hill Park), Steve Costello (Central Vermont Public Service & Coach for the Gift-of-Life Marathon), director Art Jones – and local advocates Kate Fish (Lake Placid Green Team & Executive Director, Adirondack North Country Association) and Gail Brill (Adirondack Green Circle) providing insight on sustainability and revitalization in the Lake Placid community.