Wednesday, January 29, 2014

If You Build It

"Wordplay" director Patrick Creadon's new documentary "If You Build It" concerns business and life partners Emily Pilloton and Matt Miller, who bring their community-based design ethic to the high school in Windsor, the seat of rural Bertie County, North Carolina's poorest.

They agree to forgo their teaching salaries and rely on grants and stipends for their "Studio H" project, which teaches high school juniors the basics of design and construction, which they use to build an actual facility - in this case, a farmer's market - that meets a need in their town. The kids are a pleasure to spend time with - I was especially heartened by the lack of racial barriers within the class (almost evenly divided between blacks and whites) - and the story, well, mildly inspirational, though we get only a cursory analysis of the market's lasting effects. Even to non-cruciverbalists, "Wordplay" felt special; I don't think the well-intentioned "If You Build It" will have the same effect.

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