by Dustin P. Anderson
Design activists Matt and Emily come to a small town in North Carolina which is struggling to get by. Their goal is to start Project H, a design class for high school students, to help get kids interested in school and lift the town out of a recessive period. The students start by building things as simple as a cornhole game, to designing a real building for a farmers market to help the town. Matt and Emily must work against incredible odds, like not getting a salary for their work and an oppressive school board, in order to see this dream come to reality.
This documentary can help people to become more empathetic towards fellow human beings living in worse conditions. This is a great documentary if someone thinks that this is a moment in time where it feels like everyone in the world is out for themselves, knowing that there are some people in the world who are still trying to better the living conditions of the downtrodden. The kids are relatable and seem like normal high school kids in an area that doesn’t seem to stress education. Whether you are watching them go fishing in the local lake, or at their house with their families, this documentary does a great job at humanizing the people they are trying to portray. The activists are also relatable, and I find myself rooting for them more and more as the documentary goes on. They deal with financial troubles and relationship troubles which help to make them as sympathetic as the people they are trying to help. There are a few things I wish would have been taken out in the interest of time. The kid who is known around town as “that kid with the bike” should have had a shorter introduction. The whole Christmas scene seemed a bit too long and did very little for me to feel more for the community than I already did. Other than these small annoyances the movie did a great job at what it was trying to accomplish, and I had a great time watching the projects come to fruition.
This was shot in an impressive way, perfectly melding the transitions so everything flows well into the following scene. When we are dealing with the relationship troubles of Matt and Emily, it is hard for a director to make us start thinking about anything else, but Patrick Creadon did a good job at knowing where to put the supporting material so it didn’t take over the true point of the story being told. Small scenes, like seeing the halfway-finished Farmers Market, become some of the most powerful moments in the documentary. The music melds perfectly with the scenery to display meaningful moments and I never feel like I am hearing too much of a song, or that it is out of place.
This movie is something you should watch if you are really fearing for the humanity in our nation, or thinking about volunteering and just don’t have the drive to get the process started. It is an emotional rollercoaster, and I hope this inspires more goodwill projects across the world.