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March 30, 2014, 12:30 AM | posted by in Filmmakers
Rich Hill, Missouri, is not rich. In fact, its 1,393 residents live in poverty. At one time, though, it was a thriving mining town south of Kansas City. Filmmaker Tracy Droz Tragos grew up visiting the city during school breaks, because it was her father's hometown. But now, years later, the town is bleak, has a large jobless population and many failed businesses.
This time her visit resulted in the documentary, "Rich Hill."
Tragos and her cousin, Andrew Droz Palermo, followed several families who seemed, according to the filmmaker, “largely ignored and clearly facing a lot of challenges.”
“They're lovely, amazing families, but often living in so much flux [and] turmoil,” Tragos told Indiewire. “We were honored by the trust the families had in us to tell the story of their lives with dignity and honesty,”
The three boys that the film follows reveal some “tough stuff” during the filming. They talk of dysfunction, abuse and survival.
The film won the U.S. Grand Jury Prize, Documentary at Sundance this past January. In accepting her award, Tragos told the audience, “Thank you for letting them into your hearts.”
For those who see the film and are moved to action, the filmmakers encourage audience members to get involved and support their local school, food bank, or some of the national organizations that offer resources to small town and rural communities, such as the National Center for Children in Poverty.
— Anne M. DiTeodoro
Photo by Laura Watilo Blake
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