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Reinvention Stories: Welcome to a City of Inventors and Reinventors

February 18, 2013

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Reinvention Stories is an interactive project investigating a Midwestern city once significant to the world for its inventions, industry, and progressiveness, to one of the fastest dying cities in the nation (according to Forbes in 2008).  A recent collaboration between local public radio station WYSO 91.3 and filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steve Bognar beg to ask the question: how does a city of inventors reinvent itself?  Is Dayton really dying?  Through a series of audio stories, photographs, and short films capturing residents and neighborhoods, we are offered glimpses of a devastated city coming back in new and unexpected ways through its diverse and resilient residents.

WYSO‘s staff, Reichert and Bognar hosted a small reception on Sunday, February 17, to preview the interactive website for Reinvention Stories (which is set to launch on February 26th).  The project is ambitious–short documentary films tell the stories of Dayton residents, special events including the Dayton Dayton Revival Music Festival and the Blessing of the Bikes, are just a fraction of the layers the website will explore.  Reinvention Stories offers a lot of information–it will be worth visiting the site several times for different outcomes–and undoubtably will be a valuable tool for understanding the plight of a rust-belt city and its progress into the twenty-first century.

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Julia Reichert explaining the project goals to guests at WYSO

Documenting the stories, events, and neighborhoods of Dayton, the project began in Summer 2012 with a crew of filmmakers and audio producers asking:

  • How is Dayton doing?
  • How are people dealing with the economic turmoil of recent years?
  • How are individuals reinventing themselves?

A film created by Steve Bognar in the Twin Towers neighborhood of Dayton

Reinvention Stories exists because of the strong team of local creators and producers, as well as the recognition of the importance of this topic by national organizations.  From the Facebook page: “Reinvention Stories is a collaborative transmedia project from Dayton, Ohio, created by a team of filmmakers, WYSO 91.3, AIR and Zeega as part of Localore, a national public media initiative of AIR, in collaboration with Zeega, with principal funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  Additional support for this project comes from the MacArthur Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, the Yellow Springs Community Foundation, the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund and Wright State University’s Center of Excellence in Collaborative Education, Leadership and Innovation in the Arts.”

Reinvention Stories can be heard on WYSO Wednesday mornings (or online at www.wyso.org) along with select short films.  The interactive website at www.reinventionstories.org will be live at the end of the month.  Check out the latest news by following Reinvention Stories on Facebook!

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