more on the Rocktown documentary

Brent Finnegan -- February 7th, 2008

Last week, I drew attention to the Rocktown documentary blog. Now I have a little more info.

Over a decade ago, Leslie Edwards resided in Harrisonburg. She lived on Patterson, a neighborhood that doesn’t exist anymore.

In recent years, Edwards has been working with documentary filmmaker Brian Oelberg under the name “Paper City Films.” They shot video of everything from protests in the US, to presidential campaigns in Ecuador. But each time Edwards came back to visit family in Harrisonburg, she recognized her hometown less and less. In 2006, she decided to make a documentary about how and why the city had changed.

“All of this was low budget and not all that planned,” Edwards wrote in an email. “It kind of grew like a snowball once I got started. First I called my dad who’s lived in Harrisonburg all his life and asked him to make a list of people he thought I should interview, people who could tell me how Harrisonburg has arrived at its current state. He made his list–but I felt it was too concentrated on major public figures. So then I asked him to make me a list of people he knew who were average working people, which he did.”

She interviewed over 40 people over the course of about three weeks. She also researched everything she could about the history of the area, and the development trends during the latter third of the 20th century. “Each person I spoke to eagerly gave me more names and the list grew and grew and grew, she wrote. “There were people I never got a chance to talk to before I left.”

You can read more about the project on her blog.

Edwards, who now resides in Massachusetts, intends to come back to finish shooting this spring. She hopes to have a rough cut of the documentary in three months, and a finished feature by fall.

She’s not sure what will happen once it’s completed — perhaps get it into some festivals, maybe some airplay — but she definitely wants to screen it in town. “My little dream for this film is that it would be shown at Court Square Theater, with an intro musical accompaniment of Glick & Philipps, who I adore, and a showing of Freddy Cooper’s art along the long hallway leading to the theater.”

I’ll post another update if I hear anything more about the film.

3 Responses to “more on the Rocktown documentary”

  1. finnegan says:

    The Rocktown documentary will be screening at the CST Thursday, February 5, 2009.

  2. The documentary Rocktown: From the Small Farm to the Big Box, is now available to watch for free online:
    Visit our blog for more info:

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