The gap between the rich and poor is growing. This widening economic gap is a constant refrain we hear these days. How are people trying to make their ends meet and lead a decent life? How do people deal with their poverty? What does poverty in a small mid-western town in Missouri look like? Those are the questions that went through the minds of filmmaker Tracy Droz Tragos and her cousin. They turned to a small mid-western town of Rich Hill in Missouri and that is where they made their documentary.”Rich Hill” won the best documentary award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
Tragos and her cousin spent their summers in their grandparents home in Rich Hill. The two cousin had seen and heard about the struggles in Rich Hill and that became the subject of their film. “Rich Hill” film puts a face on what poverty looks like in a small farming town, where jobs are hard to find and economic growth is a distant dream.
“Rich Hill” tells the story of poverty in Rich Hill through the eyes of 3 young teenagers – Harley, Andrew and Appachey. Each one of them has their own set of issues that includes some terrible, dark secrets. We witness how this crushing poverty dashes their hopes and dreams how it derails their families from leading a normal life. It is quite devastating to watch how these young men and their families valiantly try to stay positive through their everyday struggles. The film serves as an eye-opener to the struggles and shattered dreams of families in this small town. And Rich Hill is just one small town in Missouri. If you zoom back and look at the larger picture you have got to wonder about poverty in other towns in the US.
We spoke with Tragos, a local San Francisco bay area filmmaker about “Rich Hill.” In this interview Tragos takes us behind the scenes and shares how she found the 3 teenagers and how they let her and her cousin document their struggles. She also brings us up to speed on how the 3 young adults are doing.
“Rich Hill” releases in San Francisco bay area in August 2014.
Update: “Rich Hill” is now available on Netflix Streaming.