"New and Powerful. This is a movie that builds community."
Stu Comstock-Gay | Executive Director
Vermont Community Foundation
Screened on PBS and Capitol Hill. Shared with struggling small towns across America.
Taking the tools of small town revitalization to the nation.
“The Blood in this Town” features the inspirational journey of Rutland, Vermont, a struggling blue-collar town now rallying to revitalize and re-invent itself – creating a blueprint for change that can be shared with ailing towns and cities across America.
The film is a portrait of a small town in America, and of an America at pivotal crossroads – where past glories and fading industrial power collide head-on with the urgent need to envision new ways forward. Once a boomtown built on railroads and manufacturing, Rutland is like thousands of small towns and cities left behind by globalization. Rutland grapples with the loss of manufacturing jobs, rising poverty and the flight of young people. Here, the old America is broken, it’s gone and it’s not coming back. Yet this town has mustered a profound response to uncertain times.
"The Blood in this Town" chronicles Rutland's drive to revitalize, using the town's remarkable Gift-of-Life blood drive to explore how a rust-belt town can rebuild from the grassroots up. Rutland’s act of giving blood in record-breaking numbers becomes a powerful symbol of renewal and social change that radiates throughout the community. The film reveals local citizens taking the lead to experiment with fresh ideas and new models – creating sustainable businesses, world-class recreation, farm-to-table networks, boot-strap start-ups, and the rebirth of a historic downtown.
Today, this town of 15,000 is re-exploring America’s identity and future. Tackling the heavy lifting of community-building and turnaround, Rutland offers new models for a nation desperately seeking transformation.
“This film is now getting attention from community leaders who hope to replicate Rutland's self-reliance instead of waiting for Washington or corporate America to deliver them from hard times.”
"Art Jones has made a dynamic, funny and inspiring film about the blood drive that set a New England record - and tells the greater story of how folks lining up to give blood are also lining up to revitalize a community. It’s the story of heroes and heroines who are leading a real movement - doing terrific things to make Rutland a more attractive, engaging and dynamic place to live or do business."
Paul Costello | Executive Director
Vermont Council on Rural Development
"It really took Art Jones, an outsider, to come in and say to the community at large ‘You've got something special here.’ It's made people proud to say ‘I'm from Rutland.’”
Randal Smathers | Editor
The Rutland Herald
Rutland’s fresh models for revitalization need to be shared. Great Jones Productions launched an Outreach Program that has helped fuel community-building and rebirth in rural and rust-belt towns across the nation. Using our documentary, “The Blood in This Town” as catalyst, our program has provided grassroots leaders with a dynamic tool to engage their citizens and jump-start vital community initiatives.
Through community-based screenings and town halls, we’ve been creating bridges between local communities, exchanging best practices and know-how so that people can seize opportunities to build on local assets, chart new paths to economic development and create vibrant places to live and work.
We’ve taken “The Blood in this Town” to PBS, NPR and the pages of The New York Times, Forbes and The Huffington Post. We’ve reached communities, high schools and key leaders through support from The Ben and Jerry’s Foundation, Pratt Institute, the Rockefeller Foundation and Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility. We’ve partnered with the EPA and CDC’s community development programs to reach hard-hit areas seeking social, economic and environmental justice. With Congressman Peter Welch (VT), we screened on Capitol Hill, spurring national focus on the plight and promise of America’s small towns.
Rutland's can-do spirit, captured on film, is contagious.
Paramount Theatre | Rutland, VT
John Bonafede, Elvis Maynard, Art Jones,
Benjamin S. Wolf, Joe Foley
ART JONES - WRITER/DIRECTOR/PRODUCER
Art heads Great Jones Productions in New York, and as director/producer, fuses filmmaking with community-building to spark social action. His narrative films, "Dodgeball," "Going Nomad" and "Lustre" have played on HBO, PBS and in theaters, parking lots and bare-bulb basements across America. His documentary, "The Blood in this Town" traveled to all 50 states, sharing revitalization know-how with struggling small towns and cities. Art graduated from Brown, lives in Brooklyn and serves as Adjunct Professor of Film at Hunter College. He’s been nominated for Film Independent's John Cassavetes Award and does all stunts without a net.
JOE FOLEY - DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Joe Foley has been working in film for two decades and has shot 15 features. Filmmaking has taken him all over the world from Morocco, Helsinki, Singapore, Cambodia, and Bali to Paris and South Pasadena. Even though he has shot music videos in Ghana, television in Seoul and corporate videos in Shanghai, he found no location as exotic or as captivating as Cuba. The colors and designs there are magical and the people are incredibly warm and inviting. Working with the international team on “Forbidden Cuba” was a dream come true (if your idea of a dream is to shoot for 19 days straight and eat grilled lobster every other night). It was an amazing experience that continues to give, as the producing team works to craft a final dynamic film.
PASCAL AKESSON - EDITOR
Pascal is an award-winning editor based in NYC.
Women War & Peace, produced by Abigail Disney, Pamela Hogan and Gini Reticker won The Overseas Press Club Award. Fire in the Blood, the internationally acclaimed documentary opened at Sundance, and won many international awards. Easy Riders | Raging Bulls, showed at Berlin, Slamdance and Cannes. Four documentaries for PBS, American Masters and Wide Angle each won the Cine Golden Eagle. Most recently Olympic Pride | American Prejudice, qualified for the '17 Oscar run.
Pascal has taught film at Rutgers, and guest lectured at Pratt and The City University of New York. Recently he was invited to present studio lectures at Festival Images in Vevey, Switzerland.