‘Our City, Our Story’ video series seeks community participation
The successful Our City, Our Story video series broadens in scope as it continues to give voice to the people and stories that define the Rockford community.
The nearly bi-weekly pieces, distributed through Facebook and OurCityOurStory.com, touch on the unique facets of the historic northern Illinois city in an attempt to change social discourse and build civic pride.
As the series continues to grow in popularity, the community is invited to actively participate in and contribute to the compelling stories that celebrate the people of the city. Viewers can share and comment about existing episodes on Facebook and suggest possible subjects via e-mail and can contribute financially by way of tax-deductible donations through the PayPal of the Rockford Area Arts Council.
Created by Director/Producer Pablo Korona, the series tells the stories that make the viewer happy to live in, proud to be from or eager to visit Rockford.
Korona designed the series in direct response to negative national attention the city received in 2011 from publications such as Forbes magazine, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.
The series tells affirmative stories, such as that of Darrell Hines, a 52-year-old paraplegic man with cerebral palsy, who inspires and motivates all those around him.
Another episode highlights a graffiti artist who went from “handcuffs to handshakes” — from his high-profile arrest complete with press conference to his organizing the St. Patrick’s Day parade — just six years later.
Each episode exemplifies the character of those within the city. They wish to stress that they are looking for more user-submitted stories for their editorial team to process, submitted via MyStory@OurCityOurStory.com.
Korona believes in “treating ignorance like a sweater.” He explains: “Ignorance is like a warm, cozy sweater you put on when the temperature turns negative. It’s quick and easy, seems to warm you in an instant. That sweater of ignorance makes it easy to be negligent to the positive, to buy into negativity, because you’re just going with the flow. There’s nothing to resist …
“But Our City, Our Story is resisting, by seizing a strand of the yarn and tugging — unraveling that sweater,” Korona said. “We’re revealing the positivity underneath, by showing people in this community who are outstanding. Unique. We are opening people’s eyes to the identity of those around them, the individuals who collectively portray the sophisticated character that gives this community its flavor.”
The ambitious project has also become a job creator for local talent. In addition to Korona, who produces, shoots and edits the 3- to 5-minute pieces, the project utilizes the audio engineering skills of Zach Staas and the musical expertise of Daniel James McMahon, who composed original music for the Academy Award-winning film Undefeated. Rockford’s best talent is working to showcase the stories of Rockford’s best people.
From the Aug. 15-21, 2012, issue
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