‘Peters­burg Ris­ing’ doc­u­men­tary keeps rolling

Film to fol­low PHS stu­dents through school year

The Progress-Index - - FRONT PAGE - By John Adam Mul­ti­me­dia Ed­i­tor

PETERS­BURG — An up­close look at the Peters­burg’s school sys­tem; com­ing soon to a theater near you.

Film­mak­ers have been in the city since the spring film­ing a doc­u­men­tary called “Peters­burg Ris­ing” which looks to high­light Peters­burg Pub­lic Schools’ ef­forts to climb back up to state stan­dards.

“I think [au­di­ences] will get a sense of hope and up­ward mo­tion that is present in Peters­burg, and of­ten deem­pha­sized, but I think it’s a pow­er­ful force,” said Alan Blankstein, who is lead­ing the project.

While fo­cus­ing on the school sys­tem, the doc­u­men­tary also ex­am­ines the strug­gles the city has en­dured through the years.

“We’re look­ing at the link be­tween Peters­burg and many parts of the na­tion, where the eco­nomic chal­lenges are sim­i­lar,” said Alan Blankstein. “Though what’s dif­fer­ent is the so­lu­tions that are be­ing pur­sued.”

Crews have been in the city for sev­eral months film­ing in­ter­views with city and school of­fi­cials, though only just started re­ally delv­ing into the stu­dents’ per­spec­tive sev­eral weeks ago when school started.

Film­mak­ers have cho­sen four Peters­burg High School stu­dents to fol­low through­out the school year.

“We have four stu­dents, and we’re go­ing to fol­low them both in and out of the schools to high­light their chal­lenges, and how they have to do so many things to sim­ply make it through high school,” said Blankstein.

A brief trailer, or “siz­zle reel” was re­leased sev­eral weeks ago, which fea­tures snip­pets of the in­ter­views with lo­cal of­fi­cials and some school ad­min­is­tra­tors.

“One of the stu­dents we’re fol­low­ing, he im­me­di­ately grabbed a friend and showed [the trailer] to him,” said Blankstein.

An orig­i­nal score for the film is cur­rently in the works.

Blankstein said he has been in talks with PBS to dis­trib­ute the film but

noted that “dis­tri­bu­tion is nor­mally de­ter­mined at the end of the process.”

“We have other po­ten­tial out­lets,” he said. “We’re also plan­ning on sub­mit­ting to sev­eral film fes­ti­vals.”

The film is sched­uled to be re­leased in the sec­ond half of 2019, af­ter the stu­dents the film is fol­low­ing have grad­u­ated.

“We will end film­ing grad­u­a­tion of June of 2019, then go to edit­ing,” said Blankstein. “The plan is for it to come out in 2019.”

“We will end film­ing grad­u­a­tion of June of 2019, then go to edit­ing. The plan is for it to come out in 2019.”

Alan Blankstein, film project leader

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