March 26, 2015 | posted by Lara Klaber in Filmmakers
Concord, Massachusetts, home of “the shot heard round the world” that kicked off the American Revolution, has had a long history of patriots and statement makers. The latest in the line of activists is 84-year-old Jean Hill who has taken on the uphill battle against plastic water bottles.
“When I first read of Jean’s 2010 attempt to pass a bottle ban, the story was reminiscent of Rocky, if Stallone were replaced with a fiery grandmother,” says director Kris Kaczor. “Worried that Jean’s efforts would be lost to history, in 2011 we began to film her third attempt battling the third largest corporation in the world.”
Kaczor’s film, “Divide in Concord” takes a look at a town divided over the issue of bottled water bans. Similar debates are happening in several other cities across the country, so the topic is timely.
“We feel most nations today are living in a way that Earth cannot sustain,” Kaczor says. “We also feel communities have the right to maintain the quality and control of their own public water supply. Concord’s unique story was precisely where these two notions intersect.”
The specific issue of banning the sale of single-serve plastic bottles is a major point of contention in Concord for residents on both sides of the issue. However, the heated debates are not arbitrary but rather come from very practical reasoning to ban or not to ban.
“Most everyone easily agreed to on-camera interviews to have their opinions documented,” says Kaczor. “We were quickly taken aback at how knowledgeable the citizens of Concord were on the various positions they held. It became clear that, although divided, they were not misinformed.”
Even though locals were more than willing to participate, other aspects of the filmmaking process proved challenging in many ways.
“Besides creepy hauntings, vehicle break-ins, self-funding the film, and random hotel fires, the largest challenge in making this film was giving equal respect to the opinions of a clearly divided town,” Kaczor says. “We wanted the film to be a mirror to reality, rather than a platform to preach.”
Whether audiences agree or disagree with Jean Hill and her firm stance for a bottle ban, she is a reminder that one individual can, in fact, make an impact in a big way.
“Instead of complaining about something, a person should do their best to make it better,” says Kaczor. “As Jean hopes, ‘This bottle ban has to pass. People will say, if Concord can do it, so can we.’ And it will spread like a stone in the water and the circles going around it.’”
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