The Place That Makes Us
Filmed over the course of three years, this documentary film is an intimate and inspiring portrait of Youngstown Ohio, a quintessential post-industrial American city, seen through the efforts of a new generation of residents who have chosen not to abandon their hometown, as so many have, but to stay, rebuild and make a life for themselves.
When the steel mills shut down in Youngstown Ohio decades ago, it shattered a way of life. Over half the population left. Thousands of empty blighted homes were left behind, eroding the social fabric of this once mighty industrial base. Persistent joblessness, crime and poverty plague the city.
Unlike their parents, haunted and traumatized by watching their way of life crumble around them, these young leaders and community activists grew up in the remains. Unbeholden to the memory of Youngstown’s heyday, they are able to envision a new future. Interweaving archival footage and home movies of a prosperous but forgone past, this film is a poetic testimony to the profound resilience and dedication it takes to change a community.
Karla Murthy’s directorial debut is a hopeful meditation on the meaning of the American dream today. It’s about home. It’s about roots. It’s about the place that makes us.
Paired with short film Kill The House Lights