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Documentary on Benton Harbor's Revival

Updates the progress of the documentary on urban revival, first in a series, covering Benton Harbor, MI's revival of their town and its people.

Benton Harbor, MI, June 06, 2007 --( Jakz Films introduces filming of the Benton Harbor Documentary, ‘When it All Connects.’ Jakz Films is documenting the trend of community development through grass root efforts via the story of Benton Harbor, Michigan.

The film moves through Benton Harbor’s history to present day, with a glimpse at its hopeful future. It examines the diverse community makeup of this once hot and prosperous town that slid into four decades of decline, its infrastructure crumbling, but more importantly, its people. Arrive at the present - a strong foundation of diverse renewal is leading to future development and prosperity.

This is a magnificent case study of a renewal that emphasizes the empowerment, responsibility and inclusion of its people. It presents how a diverse economy and community make-up can lead to a prosperous future. This is not a renewal without conflict. If conflict in a renewal of this magnitude were not present, it would not be all-inclusive as the town moves towards a stable and prosperous future for all of its citizens.

The film is already cultivating dialogue throughout Benton Harbor, documenting the process from a local & personal level. Jakz Films interviewed Michigan Governor Granholm regarding programs her administration created to benefit people in towns like Benton Harbor. Jakz Films also followed the zealous crowd of the Art Hop & Shop on May 25, interviewing artists, gallery owners and residents finishing the evening at the Livery for a live music performance.

Filming will continue in July with interviews of residents, business owners, and community leaders. Jakz Films is assembling a town hall for teenagers (ages 14-19) from Benton Harbor and it’s neighboring communities, Lakeshore, Coloma and St. Joseph to get their impressions/views of Benton Harbor’s revival.

A companion website is being developed featuring updates on Benton Harbor’s progress; offering an open forum for people around the country to share ideas and developments in urban & rural renewal.

Production team: Benton Harbor’s TGA Recording Company; Rich Hensel, Research; Sherry Miller, Writer; Paula Rausch, Production Assistant; Seth Redlus, Editor; and Julie Katz, Producer/Director/Editor.

The estimated finish date is early 2008, with a commitment from PBS/WNIT to air the program based on final cut. The film will be placed in the national PBS Library sharing the process of urban renewal in Benton Harbor with others around the country.

Jakz Films is managed by Julie Katz, a resident of the St. Joseph-Benton Harbor community from the 1960’s-1980’s, currently residing on Long Island, NY.

Contact Information
Jakz Films
Julie Katz

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