Directed by Academy Award-nominated filmmakers Steven Ascher and Jeanne Jordan (HBO’s Emmy-nominated “Raising Renee”), the HBO documentary Our Towns, debuting Tuesday, April 13 (9:00 – 10:40 p.m. ET/PT), is a remarkable portrait of America and how the rise of civic and economic reinvention is transforming small cities and towns across the country.
Based on the bestselling book “Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America” by journalists James and Deborah Fallows, the visually stunning feature documentary spotlights ingenious local initiatives and explores how a sense of community and common language of change can help people and towns find a different path to the future.
In 2011, the Fallows created a blogpost for The Atlantic asking their readers to share compelling stories about their towns – from economic setbacks to local struggles or achievements – that have been overlooked by the national press. Within a week, they received over 1,000 responses. For the next five years, they traveled the United States exploring the changes taking place across small town America for what would become their bestselling book. In 2018, filmmakers Ascher and Jordan joined them to revisit eight of those cities, including San Bernardino, CA; Sioux Falls, SD; Columbus, MS; Eastport, ME; Charleston, WV; and Bend, OR.
The film introduces us to a wide range of civic leaders, immigrants, educators, environmentalists, artists, students, and more, witnessing their love for their communities and the innovative ways they are improving them. The film provides an expansive perspective on America that finds unexpected connections between personal stories, community actions, and the arc of history. Although filmed before the pandemic, Our Towns speaks to how the country, and by extension the world, can find a way forward.
Watch the trailer for “Our Towns” directed by Steven Ascher and Jeanne Jordan