“The Blood in This Town” will move beyond Vermont’s borders this fall in a series of screening and community-building events scheduled for small towns and major cities across the nation. The documentary focuses on Rutland, Vt.,, a struggling blue-collar city that is now rallying to revitalize itself, creating a blueprint for revival that could help save a recession-battered America.
In chronicling Rutland’s remarkable Gift-of-Life Marathon, “The Blood in This Town” explores how an ailing rust-belt town can rebuild from the grassroots up. Rutland’s act of giving blood in record-breaking numbers becomes a powerful symbol of renewal and social change that radiates throughout the community - in initiatives to engage new ideas and create sustainable businesses, world-class natural recreation, farm-to-table networks, entrepreneurial start-ups, and the revival of a historic downtown.
For six weeks beginning Sept. 17, “The Blood in this Town” goes on the road in Vermont, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Washington, DC and New York City. The series of events will bring together community leaders, urban planners, business people and government officials to engage local citizens and fuel an exchange of revitalization ideas and solutions. These screenings and forums will encourage local participation and action to create a more vibrant, sustainable future for small towns.
Dates and locations include:
Sept. 17, Williamsburg, Pa.: Farm Show Building / 6-9:30 p.m.
A town of 1200 residents outside of Altoona looking to kick-start a revitalization process through grassroots action. Hosted by the town’s Council President, Carlee Ranalli.
Oct. 6, Killington, VT: Killington Grand Resort / 10:30 a.m.
Vermont League of Cities & Towns (VLCT) Annual Town Fair, the state’s premier conference for municipal officials, employees, and volunteers.
Oct. 13, Washington, DC: U.S. Capitol Visitor Center / 6-9 p.m.
Hosted by the Northeast-Midwest Institute in cooperation with U.S. Rep. Peter Welch’s office, the Rockefeller Institute, Great Jones Productions and the German-Marshall Fund.
Oct. 16, Poultney, Vermont: Green Mountain College / 7-9:30 p.m.
Oct. 19-20, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Heartland Film Festival
Oct. 21, New York City: Pratt Institute / 144 West 14th St., Manhattan / 7-9:30 p.m.
New York premiere event hosted by Pratt Institute’s Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment.
Many of these events will feature panelists from Rutland, sharing first-hand insights and experience - including Tara Kelly, the Executive Director of the Rutland Area Farm & Food Link, Steve Costello, Director of Public Affairs at Central Vermont Public Service and Gift-of-Life Marathon Head Coach, and Paul Costello, Executive Director of the Vermont Council on Rural Development in Montpelier.
“Given today’s intense national search for new ways to build a stronger economy and reinvigorate local communities, Rutland’s story of transformation in progress is right on time and right on target. Now is the time to share Rutland’s grassroots spirit and revitalization know-how with more and more towns across the United States and bring the plight and promise of America’s struggling rural and rust-belt towns to the full attention of lawmakers in Washington, DC,” said Art Jones, the film’s director.
Jones said, “Rutland’s story of revival is all the more relevant to communities across the country in light of Vermont’s recent response to massive flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene - a remarkable testament to the resilience and strength of local communities in the Green Mountain State which have rallied together to aid devastated neighbors and begin recovery.”
The film’s expanding Outreach Program is planning national screenings & forums for towns in Virginia, Wyoming, California, Ohio and as far away as Breda, The Netherlands.
“Ultimately, this is a story about challenges facing town after town in America,” Jones said. “Rutland’s revitalization efforts are instructive and inspiring, and the best news is that they are transferable.”
More information is available at www.bloodinthistown.com.