Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Documenting Hudson

It's been more than fifteen years since Two Square Miles documented Hudson's struggle against a $300 million cement plant proposed by a Swiss multinational corporation. Now, Hudson is in a different struggle, one shared by most of the world: the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, Helsinki Hudson announced that it is working on a documentary film about life in Hudson during this unusual time. The following press release was circulated today.
Helsinki Hudson will produce a documentary film about life in Hudson during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. RE-IMAGINING HUDSON: A Rivertown in Time of Pandemic will capture a moment in time, when a global pandemic hits a small city of 6,000 on the Hudson River in upstate New York, and document how its residents cope, respond, react, and rebuild their fragile socio-cultural ecosystem.
Hudson, N.Y., was a city on the rise, having been revived after decades of post-industrial neglect left its economy and social resources in shambles. The oft-told story of Hudson's slow but steady revival over the past two decades garnered repeated coverage in the New York Times and in national press and magazines, as the once hardscrabble town became a gathering place and refuge for artists, writers, designers, makers, musicians, choreographers, and other creative entrepreneurs, whose efforts in front of and behind the scenes sparked a transformation of the city from a place that time forgot to the place to be.
The transformation did not come without a price--increasingly the gentrification of Hudson posed difficulties for long-time residents and potential newcomers alike as the landscape changed, some got left behind, and real-estate prices skyrocketed.
Just as efforts were underway to address some of these issues, aided by a $10 million development grant awarded to the city by the State of New York, the COVID-19 pandemic and associated shutdown struck Hudson. The city's vibrant sidewalks and social life, centered in the art galleries, performance venues, bookstores, cafes and restaurants, and other gathering places, came to a sudden halt. No number of Zoom meetings or phone calls could take the place of the small-urban energy that fueled this small city of 2.5 square miles.
RE-IMAGINING HUDSON: A Rivertown in Time of Pandemic will document Hudson's revival and how its creative community responded with creative measures to cope with, survive, and reboot the city in the wake of the pandemic.
The film will capture in real time how artists and organizers and activists and thought leaders reexamined the city's social values as reflected in its policies, and how the temporary shutdown and the efforts to reopen the city brought about a new, mindful consideration of how its citizens wanted to live differently, with a re-envisioning of how the new Hudson could reflect those cherished values of community, compassion, and belonging.

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