Wednesday, September 23, 2009

From Scrap to What?

On Friday night, a new locally-made film about Youngstown,Steel Valley: Meltdown, will have its premiere downtown at the DeYor Center.  The film is the brainchild of director Kevin DeOliveira, my guest on Lincoln Avenue this week, in part as an effort to offer a fresh view of the Mahoning Valley.  The film's title, Kevin says, refers to the process of melting down scrap metal so that it can be reformed into something new, a process that he sees happening in the Mahohing Valley. 

No doubt, our community is being transformed, and I'm pleased to see that we are approaching that process without completely dismissing our history but also without feeling the need to define precisely what we will become.  We've identified some key problems to solve, like having too many vacant properties,  and some potential tools for remaking the region, like developing the arts, technology, and green energy manufacturing.  We don't yet know how all of this will play out.  Meanwhile, I sense a building pressure from within and outside.  Our efforts have drawn international attention, and even though everyone knows that these processes take time, both local residents and outside observers are anxious to declare either victory or defeat.

DeOliveira hopes that his film will contribute to changing the image of Youngstown, both locally and nationally.  It will join a growing series of newspaper articles, broadcast and web media stories, and academic studies all focused on how Youngstown, three decades after its defining industry began to fall apart, will finally be remade. 

The premiere is open to the public, free.  7:30, Friday, September 25, in the Ford Recital Hall at the DeYor. 

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