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Documentary films in East Liverpool

‘A Point of New Beginning’ in the early stages of production

EAST LIVERPOOL — A film crew from Western Reserve Public Media, a PBS affiliate, was in East Liverpool Wednesday to gather footage of the New Castle School of Trades for an upcoming documentary on East Liverpool.

Kelly Woodward and Jamie Jansen have been in East Liverpool approximately a dozen times for the documentary tentatively titled “A Point of New Beginning.” The film is in the early stages of production and is expected to be approximately 30 minutes long. It is undetermined when it will air.

“We’re looking at the community of East Liverpool as an example of what a dedicated group of citizens can do to impact their city and their community,” said Woodward, the producer, writer and director of the project. “As a station, we’ve been really impressed with the dedication of the people here and their commitment to making a difference and revitalizing an economy and instilling hope in an area that’s been pretty depressed after the loss of steel and the loss of the potteries.”

Woodward has a deadline of the end of October for filming and scripting. She hopes to have the documentary ready to be aired by the end of 2019 or early 2020, but she will have a better idea once post-production begins. Woodward also expects the documentary to have additional content online and potential follow up stories.

“We’re here today because this is, I guess, if you’re looking at a documentary as a major story, this is a very important chapter and having the school here is not only good for students and for the economy,” said Woodward. “But it also shows hope and what else can happen down here with historic buildings, that might not be in great shape, and it gives an idea of the possibilities.”

The East Liverpool Community Partnership for Revitalization approached the trade school in 2011 to start talks that were aimed at establishing an East Liverpool branch. By November 2016, the branch located in the former Ogilvie Department store was open. Part of the agreement the partnership made with the trade school was that the school needed to use an existing historic building within East Liverpool and the renovation needed to follow historic building guidelines.

“We were the catalyst that got it (the revitalization) going, no one really wanted to jump in until someone else did,” said Rex Spaulding, president of the school. “We’re excited to have PBS here and we’re hoping that it brings some excitement to East Liverpool.”

WNEO/WEAO-TV is based in Kent and broadcasts throughout Northeast Ohio and Southwestern Pennsylvania with a coverage population of approximately 5.12 million.

Woodward was assigned “A Point of New Beginning” by the station. The project began in May 2018 and Woodward expects to be back in East Liverpool between three and five times to complete filming. Trina Cutter, the station’s president and chief executive officer, explained public broadcasting strives to be engaged with its entire broadcast area.

“My hope is that East Liverpool will turn around, and become a model for other cities in the U.S. that have the same challenges.”

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