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April 09, 2013 | posted in Filmmakers
Jack Storey is a Cleveland resident and founder of Saving Cities, a organization that aims to use “media as a tool to advance community development across the Rust Belt.”
CIFF: What inspired you to make “Red, White and Blueprints: A Rust Belt Documentary?
JS: I was finishing grad school in early 2010, when the infamous “Forbes” Most Miserable Cities [list] came out. That year, as most will remember, Cleveland topped the list. For me, that was a breaking point. I can remember a mixture of anger and confusion over that designation, and this film is – in its own way – is a response to that article, and all the hundreds of articles, stories, blogs, videos, and other media that depict our beloved hometowns in such a drab, negative context. Cleveland isn’t miserable; Detroit isn’t miserable. These places are stunning and important, and their citizens are even more inspiring.
CIFF: How did the Saving Cities evolve? What was your role in that process?
JS: I’m not sure how it’s evolved, other than to say it’s never been a static idea to start. SC, as a whole, was always just an idea to do whatever we could to help push the Rust Belt and its people forward. Sometimes that’s hosting an event, creating a workshop, working with a local CDC, or – in this case – making a feature length film. We’ll go wherever we’re needed in a given moment.
As for my role, I am the constant. I founded the organization, and I am the crazy one who never really lets up on it. There are a lot of people who come in for single projects, or a series of events, and they play a significant role in developing those moments, but, at the end of the day, it’s me. And, that’s really the only way it can work; there’s not a whole lot of money in promoting the Rust Belt, so most people donate what little free time they have, when they have it.
CIFF: What can Clevelanders do on individual basis to support revitalization in their region?
JS: It can be any number of things, and most people are doing a handful of them without knowing it. It can be as simple as proactively making “date night” reservations at a locally owned restaurant, or buying your coffee from Phoenix instead of that other chain. Or, if they want to do a bit more, they can join the Cleveland Colectivo and really make an impact on a number of projects throughout the city.
CIFF: As a Clevelander yourself, what are your personal favorite things about the city?
JS: Collinwood! I absolutely adore the Collinwood neighborhood, and Waterloo in particular. I don’t think there’s a cooler place on the planet. Ten years ago, there was almost nothing there but empty lots and potholes; today it’s an incredible, creative, and inspiring place with the nicest merchants and greatest shops.
CIFF: This year's theme is "Be The Applause." What aspect of your film do you hope will inspire the applause of CIFF audiences?
JS: The people in the film. The movie is really about these folks who are working, tirelessly, to better their places. I don’t think there’s any amount of screen time that can accurately portray just how incredible these individuals are.
Photo: Producer Kris Schrader and Director Jack Storey relate a funny incident from the shooting of their film. Photo by Janet Macoska.
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