Update Fri, Sat & Sun 7pm shows sold out
New showtimes added:
Update Fri, Sat & Sun 7pm shows sold out
New showtimes added:
The Neon, Dayton’s downtown art house cinema, will host “Julia Reichert: 50 Years in Film,” a traveling celebration of the Oscar winning filmmaker’s decades of documentaries. The screenings begin on Sunday afternoon, November 21, 2021. The retrospective, which was curated and organized by the Wexner Center for the Arts, premiered at the Museum of Modern Art in May 2019. The film series then traveled to Los Angeles, Houston, Minneapolis, Portland, Cleveland, Louisville and Madison before the pandemic shut everything down.
“I’m deeply grateful to the Neon’s manager Jonathan McNeal for bringing this retrospective home,” said Julia Reichert. “It means so much to me to share these films again with Dayton audiences, many who weren’t even born yet when these films came out. New and beautiful 4K restorations of the four films I made with Jim Klein will play on the Neon’s screens, and they look amazing.”
“For 50 years, my professor, mentor and dear friend Julia Reichert has been telling powerful and engaging cinematic stories,” said McNeal. “These important films still resonate, and we’re thrilled to finally be able to present this incredible collection of work back on the big screen.”
The retrospective will begin on Nov 21 with Reichert, who taught film at Wright State for 28 years, giving a live, intimate, illustrated talk about her origins. How did she go from a working-class small-town girl, told she could only be a secretary, teacher or nurse, to being a pioneering filmmaker? The first event will also include a screening of Julia Reichert & Jim Klein’s first film, GROWING UP FEMALE, their groundbreaking 1971 documentary exploring how girls and women are socialized. This film, Julia’s senior project at Antioch College, was selected in 2011 by the Library of Congress for the prestigious National Film Registry of historically significant films.
The 2021 events in the retrospective are:
Reichert’s retrospective will continue in 2022 with films and dates to be announced.
The announcement was made this morning, American Factory, the documentary about the Chinese company Fuyao, was nominated for Best Documentary. This is the fourth nomination for Julia Reichert and the second nomination for Steve Bognar.
The film follows the opening of the Fuyao plant, which makes glass for automobiles, that reopened a former plant in Moraine. Led by its self-made billionaire owner, Chairman Cao Dewang, Fuyao brings along 200 experienced Chinese employees to oversee production and hires over 1000 locals. Working with 1,200 hours of footage — heroically edited by Lindsay Utz — Steve & Julia have amazing access to a complex economic reality that is touchingly hard on workers. Wages are low, work expectations high and there is certainly a culture clash between workers from the two nations.
Netflix acquired the non-fiction feature out of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Directing Award for U.S. Documentary.
According to a Indie wire, “The Participant Media production focuses on the dramatic culture clash when a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant, hiring two thousand blue-collar Americans. Following its Sundance premiere, the film impressed Barack and Michelle Obama, who launched their Netflix-partnered Higher Ground Productions last spring “to harness the power of storytelling,” as the former U.S. president described it at the time. This marks the first title from Higher Ground to premiere on the streaming service.”
“We are honored and thrilled that Netflix and Higher Ground are teaming up to bring ‘American Factory’ to the world,” said Reichert and Bognar in a statement. “Their energy and enthusiasm is infectious. We’re excited about the national and global conversations we believe this film can spark.”
YWCA Dayton will honor seven women during its 2020 Women of Influence awards luncheon on March 12, 2020, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Dayton Convention Center. This year marks the 23rd anniversary of the award; with an average attendance of 800, it is known as the largest nonprofit luncheon in Dayton.
Since 1998, the YWCA Dayton WOI Awards have recognized and honored more than 165 influential women in the Dayton area, visionaries and thought leaders who have made a difference in our community through their dedication to the YWCA mission of empowering women, eliminating racism, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.
Honorees in the Women of Influence Class of 2020 are:
Additionally, Jenell Ross will be honored with the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award. Ross is president of Bob Ross Auto Group in Centerville, Ohio, the first African-American owned Mercedes-Benz Dealership in the world and the only one owned by an African-American woman. She is the only second-generation African-American female automobile dealer in the country. Ross was first honored as a Women of Influence honoree in 2012.
Honorees were selected from a pool of more than 130 nominations by YWCA leadership and the volunteer WOI Committee, led this year by Chair Belinda Matthews Stenson, director, Minority Business Partnership of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, and Co-Chair Diane Pleiman, president, Premier Health Physician Network.
Says Shannon Isom, president and CEO of YWCA Dayton, “We stand in awe of these women. They are thought leaders, innovators, literal care givers. They make our community stronger by sharing those gifts to break down barriers and help the most vulnerable among us thrive. That is the mission work YWCA Dayton has done for 149 years, and we are honored to lift up these women in pursuit of that vision.
“This year’s class represents not only women who have blazed new trails in their personal and professional lives, influencing our city and region for decades before and those to come, but they also represent a significant milestone: these honorees will be recognized as Women of Influence during YWCA Dayton’s 150th anniversary year.”
The Women of Influence luncheon is YWCA Dayton’s largest fundraiser. Sponsorship opportunities, program advertising, and table and ticket purchase information is available at www.ywcadayton.org/woi20.
For more information on YWCA Dayton, its Women of Influence awards, or to arrange a media interview, contact email@example.com or 937-416-3924. Follow the conversation on social media using hashtag #DaytonWOI.
American Factory, the documentary from Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions and Participant Media, will premiere on Netflix on August 21. The streaming service had acquired the pic from co-directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where it won the U.S. Documentary directing award.
This becomes the first title from the Higher Ground slate to land a spot on the service after the Obamas inked their multi-year agreement in May 2018 to produce films and series for Netflix.
The documentary focuses on post-industrial Ohio, where a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant, hiring 2,000 blue-collar Americans. Early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America.
For FREE General Admission tickets (while they last) to the Dayton Premiere of AMERICAN FACTORY, go to:
We recommend you “Sign up as Guest” – it’s a little faster.
You can choose to select 1 or 2 free tickets. You can print your passes (tickets) at home, or show up to the Will Call area at the Victoria and your name will be on the list.
In 2009 Yellow Spring filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steve Bognar made a film based on the closure of the Moraine Assembly plant, a General Motors automobile factory on December 23, 2008. Reichert and Bognar spoke to several hundred of the nearly 3,000 workers at the plant who were to lose their jobs as a result of the closure. Lacking access to film inside the plant itself, the filmmakers supplied some of the workers with flip cameras to smuggle into the factory, allowing them to acquire footage of some of the final vehicles being assembled there. The film, The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant was picked up by HBO and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject) in 2009.
They just found out today their latest film, American Factory will debut this January at the Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Documentary Competition. The category will showcase sixteen world-premiere American documentaries that illuminate the ideas, people and events that shape the present day.
American Factory / U.S.A. (Directors: Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert, Producers: Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert, Jeff Reichert, Julie Parker Benello) — In post-industrial Ohio, a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant, hiring two thousand blue-collar Americans. Early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America. World Premiere
When Steve Bognar called to share the news of the films acceptance into the festival he shared that the film is not yet finished. They submitted a rough cut for judging and crossed their fingers. They now have a pretty great reason to get the film finished, but he says there is still a lot of work to be done. And they’ll be taking some time out to go to California in December where Julia will be awarded the International Documentary Association’s Career Achievement Award for 2018 in Los Angeles.
American Factory was selected out of a record-breaking 14,259 submissions from 152 countries. Bognar said that the film was untitled until just two days ago. American Factory refers to what the Chinese call this venture and also to the inside look the film has of the business.
2019 is already shaping up to be a pretty major year for the filmmaking team as , the Museum of Modern Art and the Wexner Center for the Arts will team up to present a traveling retrospective of Julia Reichert’s films later in the year.
The Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame has just announced their 2018 honorees. Wright Dunbar, Inc. sponsors the Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame, and the memorial stones are on West Third Street in the Wright Dunbar Historic Business District between Broadway and Shannon and along Williams Street.
The 2018 honorees are: Hannah Beachler, Major General George R. Crook, Dr. Richard A. DeWall, Robert C. Koepnick, Police Sergeant Lucius J. Rice and Policewoman Dora Burton Rice, and Julia Reichert.
HANNAH BEACHLER, (1971- ) Groundbreaking media production designer
Hannah Beachler grew up in Centerville, Ohio, majored in fashion design as an undergraduate at the University of Cincinnati and then went back to school at Wright State University in 2005 to earn a B.F.A. from WSU’s Motion Pictures Program. She began working on films as a set dresser in small movies and horror films. Her talent and attention to detail quickly brought her assignments as a production designer. She won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Film for Fruitvale Station and the Audience Award for the Best Film at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013. In 2017 she was nominated for an Emmy and won the Art Directors Guild Award for Excellence in Production Design for a video for Beyoncé. Her most recent success came as the first-ever female black production designer for a Marvel film. That film, Black Panther, is breaking box office records and is one of the most talked about films of the season. She returns home to spend time at WSU talking to students about her career and mentoring many young filmmakers.
MAJOR GENERAL GEORGE R. CROOK, (1828-1890) Leader in the U.S. military and civil rights activist
George R. Crook was born and raised near Taylorsville, now a part of Huber Heights, Ohio. He graduated from West Point in 1892. He is recognized as a major figure in U.S. military and civil rights history. He had an active career in the Civil War capped by his Division causing General Robert E. Lee to surrender at Appomattox. He was an important commander in the Indian Wars that followed the Civil War. While serving as the Commander of the Department of the Platte in 1879, Crook arranged to have himself sued on behalf of the Ponca tribe. The case resulted in a major civil rights victory when Chief Standing Bear was recognized as a person under the law and therefore Native Americans were entitled to equal protection under U.S. law. Sioux Chief Red Cloud remarked after Crook’s passing that, “He, at least, never lied to us. His works gave us hope.”
DR. RICHARD A. DEWALL, (1926-2016) Pioneer heart surgeon
Dr. Richard DeWall came to Dayton in 1966 and spent 50 years of his life here. He is credited with inventing the first workable, portable heart-lung machine. Dr. Doug Talbott recruited him to Dayton, and Mrs. Virginia Kettering invited him to initiate an open-heart surgery program at Kettering Hospital, where he performed the first successful open-heart surgery in the area. He established the general surgery residency-training program, serving as its director from 1970-1976 and also acted as a consultant to the National Institutes of Health. The winner of many national and local awards, his proudest accomplishment was his role in the founding of Wright State University School of Medicine because he wrote the original proposal for what would become the medical school. He also helped establish the Wright State School of Medicine Foundation. He said, “With the bubble oxygenator (the name of his invention), you are dealing with maybe several hundred patients a year. With a medical school, when you get it expanded, you’re dealing with thousands.”
ROBERT C. KEOPNICK (1907-1997) Nationally known sculptor, talented teacher
Robert C. Keopnick, a native Daytonian, was born in 1907 and lived virtually all of his life in the Dayton Region. He was a sculptor of national reputation and maintained a studio in Lebanon, Ohio until shortly before his death. He was a prolific, versatile sculptor who worked in wood, bronze, stone, aluminum, and terra cotta. He studied with Carl Miles, the noted Swedish sculptor. He headed the sculpture department at the Dayton Art Institute for almost 30 years, with the exception of a five-year period during World War II when he worked for the Aeromedical Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, helping to design gloves and oxygen masks that made it possible for pilots to fly at ever increasing altitudes. His works are displayed in many states, and he has exhibited in distinguished museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Academy of Design, and the Dayton Art Institute. At least 17 of his major works are displayed in Dayton. He once remarked that, to his amazement, “I really marked up this world.”
POLICE SERGEANT LUCIUS J. RICE AND POLICEWOMAN DORA BURTON RICE (1876-1939; 1882-1940) Long serving pioneer Police officer and community activist Policewoman
In 1896, when he was 20, Sgt. Lucius Rice moved from North Carolina to Dayton where he met his future wife Dora, a first cousin of the renowned poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar. He served in the Ohio National Guard, distinguishing himself at Lake Erie in 1908 and winning government marksmanship medals. After being honorably discharged from the military, he was appointed to the Dayton Police Department. He became the second African-American man to serve on the Dayton police force and was one of the longest serving Dayton Police officers of the 20th century, serving more than 30 years. He was the first African-American lawman to be appointed a plainclothes detective. He was the first African-American in Dayton to become a police supervisor when he was promoted to sergeant in 1916. During his career, he served with distinction and sacrifice, often working 12-hour days, wounded twice, and then tragically lost his life in the line of duty in 1939.
Dora Rice first played the role of homemaker until her children were older when she became a community activist in her church, serving Wesleyan Methodist Church as treasurer for 20 years and as church organist for over 22 years. Then she chose to join her husband in law enforcement. In 1929 she was appointed to the Dayton Bureau of Policewomen, becoming the first African-American policewoman in Dayton. She served for 10 years before resigning for poor health and died six months after her husband was killed. Sgt. Rice is remembered by the Dayton Police History Foundation as a local legend and his wife as a civic activist and Dayton Police Woman.
JULIA REICHERT (1946- ) Pioneering independent filmmaker and educator
Julia Reichert, a graduate of Antioch, has been called the godmother of the American independent film movement. She is a three-time Oscar nominee. Her film Growing up Female was the first feature document of the modern Women’s Movement. Recently it was chosen for inclusion in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. One of her films (with Steven Bognar) premiered at Sundance and won the Primetime Emmy for Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filming. She writes, directs, and produces. She is a voting member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and a member of the advisory board of the Independent Feature Project. She is the co-founder of the New Day Films, a 42-year old social issue film distribution co-op, author of Doing it Yourself, the first book on self-distribution in independent film, a professor of motion pictures at Wright State University and a grandmother.
The honorees will be celebrated at a luncheon on Thursday, September 27, 2018 at the Sinclair College Conference Center. Tickets for the luncheon are available on the Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame website, www.daytonwalkoffame.citymax.com. Also, take advantage of the opportunity to honor your favorite Walk of Fame member during the May 18th Walk the Walk event; for just $150 you will be recognized as a fan, supporter, family member, organization, or company that pays tribute to a particular Walk of Fame member. Since 1996, over 170 outstanding individuals and groups and their contributions to the Miami Valley have been memorialized at the September event and with granite stones on West Third Street in Dayton.
Stick around after the screening for a panel discussion of the film with local Academy Award nominated filmmakers Julia Reichert & Steven Bognar along with artists from the Cincinnati Opera. $9 per ticket, $8 for students (student tickets available at the door only).
Chicken & Egg Pictures was founded in 2005 by Julie Parker Benello, Wendy Ettinger, and Judith Helfand. Their mission is create a space where women could learn from one another, test their limits, challenge the status quo, and break new ground both as artists and activists. This year they launched the inaugural Breakthrough Filmmaker Awards.
The award responds to the reality that only a few women non-fiction directors in the U.S. are able to work full-time as independent storytellers. The program recognizes and elevates five mid-career women directors with unique voices who are poised to reach new heights and to continue to be strong filmmaker-advocates for urgent issues. This award consists of a $50,000 unrestricted grant and a year-long mentorship program tailored to each filmmaker’s individual goals
Julia Reichert is a three-time Academy Award nominee for her documentary work. She lives in Ohio, and has chosen to focus on class, gender, and race in the lives of Americans. Julia’s first film, Growing Up Female, was the first feature documentary of the modern Women’s Movement. It was recently selected for the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. Her films Union Maids and Seeing Red were nominated for Academy Awards for Best Feature Documentary, as was The Last Truck, a short (co-directed with Steven Bognar) which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival and on HBO. Her film A Lion in the House (an ITVS co-production, made with Bognar) premiered at Sundance, screened nationally on PBS, and won the Primetime Emmy for Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking. She co-wrote and directed the feature film Emma and Elvis. Julia is co-founder of New Day Films, the independent film distribution co-op. She is author of “Doing It Yourself,” the first book on self-distribution in independent film, and was an Advisory Board member of IFP. Reichert is currently directing a film about the 9 to 5 movement, telling the stories of the millions of low wage, invisible women who populated the clerical pool, served coffee, and suffered sexual harassment before it was named. In the 1970’s they gathered their courage and rose up against their bosses, large corporations, and institutions. She’s also begun filming a verite follow-up to The Last Truck, chronicling the arrival of a new plant in her economically devastated Midwestern city.
On being named a winner, Julia shared, “It is such an honor to be among these engaged, brilliant, committed filmmakers. I have so much to learn! DEEP Thanks to the women of Chicken & Egg for their vision. We are all here at Sundance together, having great talks, sharing war stories.”
The other chosen filmmakers are Kristi Jacobson (A Place at the Table), Yoruba Richen (The New Black), Elaine McMillion Sheldon (Hollow), and Michèle Stephenson (American Promise). This award consists of a $50,000 unrestricted grant and a year-long mentorship program tailored to each filmmaker’s individual goals. For more information on these filmmakers and Chiken & Egg, please visit their website.
We’re moving along this weekend. If you still need to see QUARTET, you only have through Thursday to catch it at THE NEON. On Friday, we start a new, stylish thriller which clearly pays homage to Hitchcock – STOKER. We will also begin a one-week engagement of the new documentary WEST OF MEMPHIS. In addition, EMPEROR will stick around for a couple screenings per day for one more week. For this week’s remaining showtimes, visit our official site: www.neonmovies.com.
Synopsis for STOKER: “After India’s father dies in an auto accident, her Uncle Charlie, who she never knew existed, comes to live with her and her emotionally unstable mother. Soon after his arrival, she comes to suspect this mysterious, charming man has ulterior motives, but instead of feeling outrage or horror, this friendless girl becomes increasingly infatuated with him.” (taken from rottentomatoes.com) This film stars Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode and Jackie Weaver. Click HERE to visit the film’s official site.
Synopsis for WEST OF MEMPHIS: “From director Amy Berg, in collaboration with filmmakers Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh comes WEST OF MEMPHIS, a powerful examination of a catastrophic failure of justice in Arkansas. The documentary tells the hitherto unknown story behind an extraordinary and desperate fight to bring the truth to light. Told and made by those who lived it, Berg’s unprecedented access to the inner workings of the defense, allows the film to show the investigation, research and appeals process in a way that has never been seen before; revealing shocking and disturbing new information about a case that still haunts the American South.” (taken from rottentomatoes) This story was told in a film called PARADISE LOST and its subsequent follow-ups…but critics agree that this film is a masterfully crafted summation that reveals fresh insights. Click HERE to visit the film’s official site.
On Thursday, March 28 at 7:30, “Peace on Fifth will present movie #3 for their trafficking awareness campaign – Start Freedom Dayton (Sponsored by Love146 Dayton, Stop Human Trafficking Dayton and Peace on Fifth). FLESH, a documentary about sex trafficking in the U.S., challenges our ideas of slavery, human trafficking & prostitution. The story is told by the girls who have escaped and those who are currently enslaved, former and current pimps, and modern day abolitionists. The post-screening discussion will be led by Elizabeth Ranade Janis, Ohio’s first human trafficking coordinator. Tickets: $10 day of show at The Neon. Advance tickets: $8.50 at Peace on Fifth (508 E. 5th 937-367-7215).” (taken from press notes)
This year’s edition of LUNAFEST – a collection of 9 short films made by, for and about women – will take place on Sunday, April 7 at 3:00. In addition to the nationally touring program (which you can read all about by clicking this LINK), this year’s local line-up will also feature a short film by WSU student Megan Hague – WOMEN WHO YELL. (I previously announced that Hague would be at the screening, but that has changed. She will not be able to attend.) Proceeds will go to the Breast Cancer Fund and Planned Parenthood – Southwest Ohio. The suggested donation for tickets is $10 each (minimum of $5 per ticket). More ticket information will be available soon.
Downtown resident and NEON regular Hector Escobar wants us to screen the film BLESS ME, ULTIMA. In order to make the screening happen, we need to “sell” 65 tickets by the end of March. If that many tickets are reserved, the screening will take place Wednesday, April 10 at 7:30. (This is a lot like our screening of THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE. There’s no gamble. If 65 tickets aren’t reserved, you will not be billed…and the event will not proceed.) Watch the trailer below and check out this LINK to reserve your ticket.
On Tuesday, April 16 at 7:30, Five River Metroparks will host a screening of WHERE THE YELLOWSTONE GOES. The film “follows a 30-day drift boat journey down the longest ‘undammed’ river in the lower 48. Intimate portraits of locals in both booming cities and dusty, dwindling towns along the Yellowstone River illustrate the history and controversies surrounding this enigmatic watershed leading to questions about its future. Connect with colorful characters, get lost in the hypnotic cast of a fly rod, and experience silhouetted moments of fireside stories on this heartfelt river adventure.” (taken from press notes) Tickets will be $11 in advance ($10 plus $1 service fee) or $15 the day of the screening at the door (cash only). We will not be selling advanced tickets to this screening at THE NEON. Click this LINK to purchase advanced tickets. Visit the official site to learn more about the film.
Also on the horizon is The 13th Dayton Jewish International Film Festival. I’ll go into more details in the coming weeks, or you can visit our lobby for the new brochures . To visit the website, click this LINK. 8 films from this festival will screen at THE NEON, and the line-up looks terrific!
Over the years, we have celebrated the work of local filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steve Bognar. Well if you haven’t already heard, they recently unveiled a new website about Dayton, and new content (the 2nd part of a documentary found on the site) was just released today. Click this LINK to read an article I wrote about their project.
The spring looks very promising at THE NEON, and we hope to see you soon.
All the best,
SHOWTIMES for Fri. March 22 – Thur, March 28:
STOKER (R) 1 Hr 39 Min
Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 12:30, 2:50, 5:10, 7:30, 9:45
Monday – Wednesday: 2:50, 5:10, 7:30
Thursday: 2:50, 5:10, 7:50
EMPEROR (PG-13) 1 Hrs 46 Min
Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 2:00, 7:15
Monday – Wednesday: 2:45, 8:00
WEST OF MEMPHIS (R) 2 Hrs 27 Min
Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 4:15, 9:30
Monday – Thursday: 5:00
As always, all dates are tentative. Many of these dates will change.
In some rare cases, titles may disappear.
March 29 – THE GATEKEEPERS
April 5 – ON THE ROAD
April 12 – NO
April 12 – A PLACE BEYOND THE PINES
April 26 – MUD
April 26 – THE COMPANY YOU KEEP
April 26 – STARBUCK
Late April – THE SAPPHIRES
May ? – TO THE WONDER
In the Spring of 2012, Emmy-winning, Oscar nominated filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steve Bognar, along with about 15 other media artists, hit the streets of Dayton asking the question, “How is Dayton doing?” Engaging subjects in thoughtful interviews and creating compelling, non-fiction stories is nothing new for Reichert and Bognar – but it turns out that this project was much more difficult than anticipated.
“This was a really ambitious project,” said Bognar. “We were attempting to take the pulse of the whole city. And we did not know what the answers would be.”
After identifying a handful of focus neighborhoods, the group—which was a collaboration with WYSO 91.3 FM— split into teams. They began to find and interview people who were in the process of reinventing themselves. In addition, the group documented over 35 events throughout the city. After weeks and months of sifting through hundreds of hours of material (not to mention a whole different language of web design), the resulting efforts can now be seen on an interactive website – ReinventionStories.Org.
Upon logging on the site, the first thing you’ll see is a beautifully animated introduction featuring a vintage postcard of the city and various soundbytes from numerous interviews. This introduction leads into an 18-minute documentary featuring 7 individuals from various neighborhoods. Using a combination of still photography, audio interviews and video footage, users get a sense for who these people are and how they are in the process of reinventing themselves. Each piece ends with a sort of cliffhanger. This 18-minute piece is merely Act One of three. In the coming weeks, each of the seven characters’ stories will continue in Act Two and Three. Reichert says that as the stories unfold, more dramatic material will reveal itself. She said, “These stories fit together to tell a bigger story about the city. We wanted to capture our City’s life and diversity and to show that we’re not all that far from each other. We’re all in this together.”
Those ideas are conveyed even more as we “Drive the Road.” This section of the website takes the viewer down East 3rd Street. The voice of Carol Coffey, teller of one of the stories, asks: “ What signs of life do you see in Dayton?” While passing storefronts and houses, a series of bubbles appear that allow the user to watch short stories about events from over the summer, prompting the viewer to think about that question. One story is about the Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus, another is about the Blessing of the Bikes, another, the World Soccer Tournament, sponsored by Welcome Dayton.
The storytellers want us to think about the fabric of the city…that all these very different events are happening in the same town.
In a third section of the site, the user is asked questions like “Where do you see signs of life in Dayton?” or “What city event do you most look forward to each year?” Once answered, the responses are broadcast via twitter. @ReinventDayton
In addition to new sections of the documentary, the coming months will see more coverage of events while “Driving Down the Road” and additional questions posed to users. The team also noted that “treasures have yet to be unveiled.”
The website went live in late February, but the idea is to let the website become a living, breathing site that will reveal more elements in time. The interactive part will rely on users to keep it fresh and alive. By April, Daytonians can upload their own stories of reinvention.
This project came about when WYSO director Neenah Ellis approached Reichert and Bognar regarding a national competition called LOCALORE – a new initiative of the Association of Independents in Radio (AIR), in collaboration with Zeega (a group of people who want to push non-fiction storytelling into unchartered territory*). Hundreds of organizations applied for the competition – only 10 were selected.
Bognar said he had so much fun running around the city over the summer. He noted that there was so much to do and that events were all always well attended. “When we started, we weren’t really sure how the city was doing. But luckily for the project and for the community, a corner was turning as we hit the streets. People were taking risks, opening new businesses, forming groups,and we caught the wave.” Reichert added, “A year later, we can answer with certainty. Yes. The city is very much alive and growing.
*AUTHOR’S BONUS NOTE FOR CINEASTES – Bognar told me that Zeega is named after Dziga Vertov – director of the masterpiece MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA. This is a great treat for film lovers. Vertov’s films and theories influenced the cinema verite movement…which pushed “non-fiction storytelling into unchartered territory.”
Dayton’s own Academy Award nominated, Emmy winning filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar announce the launch of REINVENTION STORIES – a multiplatform documentary project which tells stories of Daytonians who have started over in their lives.
A groundbreaking interactive documentary, created solely for the internet, will launch on February 26, 2013, at www.reinventionstories.org. This immersive interactive experience, a collaboration with WYSO 91.3 FM, will introduce stories, photos, events, neighborhoods and people from throughout the Miami Valley, in an engaging form.
“Creating an interactive documentary has been a wild ride,” notes Julia Reichert. “We’re doing something brand new, by creating a nonfiction film experience specifically for the web. It’s been scary and fun and we’ve learned a ton. There are very few documentary projects in the world that have been created in this new form. There’s not even word for it – we’re calling it a “transmedia” documentary.”
The Sundance Institute recently awarded ReInvention Stories a production grant, to help with programming the complex web site. “We’re so honored that this local project is getting such national attention,” notes WYSO General Manager Neenah Ellis, who launched the project by urging Reichert and Bognar to apply for a national competition.
ReInvention Stories one of only ten projects to win a major grant from AIR, the Association of Independents in Radio, a national organization of radio producers based in Boston. Other cities to receive the grants include Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin and San Francisco. “Dayton is one of only two small cities to receive this big project funding . We’re proud to have been so competitive on a national scale,” adds Steven Bognar.
A series of radio stories based on the project interviews began airing weekly on WYSO on Wednesdays during Morning Edition. Each radio story is accompanied by a short film on the WYSO website, www.wyso.org. There have been film and radio stories of the Fifth Street Brewpub in St Anne’s Hill, Pat Reed of Angie’s Firehouse Tavern in Belmont, former GM worker Debbie Bradley of Fairborn who is now a Registered Nurse, Oronde Clarke of South Park, Kevin Rotramel of Truth and Triumph Tattoo in Belmont, among others (see all videos below). Upcoming is Kim Cottrell, creator of Olive and Brenda DeWinter of South Park, and many more.
A team of producers, including WYSO staff, alumni of Wright State University’s award winning film program, and WYSO’s Community Voices radio training program, hit the streets last summer, walking neighborhoods, collecting stories. “We wanted to get out of our comfort zones,” explains Julia Reichert. “We didn’t want to interview people who we already knew, or even use the usual journalistic sources. So we trusted to luck and fate, and we met amazing people from all over town.”
The team focused on four Dayton neighborhoods, Twin Towers, Residence Park, South Park and Belmont, but also covered dozens of events and reinvention stories from Fairborn, St. Anne’s Hill, Clayton, East Dayton and Kettering, among others.
The transmedia documentary will launch in three parts, following the structure of the interview questions the team posed: Who was I? What happened? Who am I trying to become?
Act 1 of the stories will launch on February 26, Act 2 on March 19 and Act 3 on April 9th at www.reinventionstories.org and can also be found at the WYSO website: WYSO.org.
ReInvention Stories is part of a national initiative of AIR, the Association of Independents in Radio, Inc and with financial support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting , The Wyncote Foundation, the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Regional funders include Chicken and Egg Pictures, The Ohio Arts Council, The Yellow Springs Community Foundation and Wright State University’s Center for Collaboration and Leadership in the Arts (CELIA).