One of the most celebrated films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival is RICH HILL, which just took home Sundance’s coveted Grand Jury Prize. The mesmerizing documentary from directors and producers Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo, is a powerful examination of the challenges, hopes and dreams of the young residents of a rural American town. The following is a synopsis from the filmmakers:
“Rich Hill, Missouri. Seventy miles south of Kansas City, fifteen miles east of the Kansas border. Once a thriving mining town, shortly after World War II, the coal was gone — mined out. Stores closed, people moved away, farms were sold. It’s a story that could be told in hundreds of towns across America. But people still live here: 1,393 of them at last count. Deep potholes line the gravel roads, and property tax is almost nonexistent. The town center is littered with piles of bricks, and crumbling buildings are all that remain of the original bank, the corner pharmacy, a cafe. Yet there is still the dream of transformation on the horizon: if only the citizens could attract more business or Rich Hill could be home to an industry once again. Every year on the 4th of July, like many communities across America, the town puts on a grand celebration, with a carnival and a parade. Rich Hill has a record-setting pie auction to raise the funds for the fireworks. It is a once-a-year time to be part of something larger and grander — the way things used to be — for even a few days. And then the carnival pulls out.”
In her review for The Playlist, Katie Walsh writes: “A truly moving and edifying film, ‘RICH HILL’ is the type of media object that could and should be put in a time capsule for future generations. For urbane coastal types, it can seem unbelievable that a place like this exists, encompassing both the nostalgic dream of retro Americana (green lawns, youthful mischief, 4th of July sparklers) and the devastating blight that has crept into the American dream. And that’s why ‘RICH HILL’ is an important film, for capturing these stories in such an authentic and artful manner and with a great deal of sensitivity and respect.” You can learn much more about the film by visiting RICHHILLfilm.com.