Thursday, August 22, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: A movie about Cumberland, Maryland: "Our Town"

Frostburg, Allegany, Maryland. Fall 2012.

There was a local buzz about this project going back quite a while. It seems that video cameras were given out to some of the residents of Cumberland, Allegany, Maryland. Rumor had it that this project was going to result in a film to be aired on Maryland Public Television (MPT) and show the region and especially Cumberland (presumably in a good light). The project and film was to be called "Our Town".

To say it was much anticipated is an understatement. It seemed that everywhere I went while the project was underway, people were talking about it. The little mountain town of Frostburg from whence my peeps come is a scant six miles west of Cumberland and was also to be spotlighted in the movie.

"They're making a movie about us," was the common thread of many conversations, and uttered in a slightly boastful tone. Now you have to understand that these folks are really modest and not at all prone to boasting. (I'm lookin' at you NYC and LA!) I'm starting to think that communities that have been through very difficult times together aren't prone to bragging, lest it make unfortunate neighbors feel their pain all the more. But Cumberland and Frostburg were super proud... and taking baby steps on the road to boastful.

The famed actor William H. Macy Jr. grew up in Cumberland and was the perfect choice to narrate this film. You might remember his work because he's been in 126 movies and TV series! His narration was heart-felt.

OK, now if you are curious you need to know that the film is over an hour long. So visit the bathroom and get a cuppa and a snack before you sit down with it. And if you aren't from there, you might want to fast forward when you feel it's covering something you really have no interest in. But stick with it.

After watching "Our Town" I asked myself why they made it. It's both a love poem to the region and, at least to me, a perfect sales tool for tourism and retiree relocation. If you are a software start-up company and view this film, you'd move there in a New York minute! (Sorry for the jab New York. You know I love you.) You see the small town life every parent wants for their kids. You hear transplants talk about being welcomed into a community. You see artists who moved there to enjoy big lofts right downtown. Culture, music festivals, education K-University. Reasonably priced homes. All good.

But one of the super stars is nature herself and the outdoors. You can't beat the area on this score. But I'll let you see for yourself.

Drum roll, please! Here's the link to the video:


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