Hollywood producer debuts his short film about Priest River | Arts & Culture
Hollywood producer Scott Gardenhour will screen his short film about Priest River, Idaho to the people of Priest River tonight.
Gardenhour says he grew up in the small town of Smithsburg, Maryland and loved the energy, decency and integrity of small town America and wanted to give his family the same experience. He had searched through parts of Montana, Oregon and Washington before his accountant suggested Sandpoint, Idaho. It didn't take long for him to fall in love with the nearby Priest River and settle in on an old dairy farm.
As he learned more about the town Gardenhour was touched by the town's struggles since the the decline of the timber industry and closure of the saw mills, and impressed by their attempts to revive the local economy with modern infrastructure.
Priest River now has high-speed fiber communications. It's one of the only towns in the Idaho panhandle that can deliver download speeds of 50mb per second, and has a designated commercial zone designed to meet the business needs of national manufacturing companies. Gardenhour wants to help spread the word.
“I believe that Priest River can re-invent itself form a timber-town that will always celebrate it's heritage, to a town that already has fiber communication making it viable to tech companies with young work forces to call home,” Gardenhour said. “Reinventing small town American is something I am committed to because I grew up in a small town. I know what it's like to leave your family and a town you love because there aren't enough opportunities.”
Gardenhour says he believes people are much more susceptible to change when they can see things visually.
“Given that I'm in a very visual storytelling medium, I though this was a great way to make a point and show people that there are new ways of doing things, and new ways of thinking that aren't bad,” he said.
Gardenhour says his film will hopefully inspire other small towns that may be struggling to consider reinventing themselves. It will also be used as a promotional piece to spread the word about Priest River and point out specific things that should be looked at.
“Small town are what's pure and good about America with a quality of life that's unmatched. We simply need to make them more vital participants in our national and international economies,” he said. “There are hundreds of other small towns throughout America with similar problems. Hopefully this film will help open people's minds and instill a sense of pride in their town again.”
Interested parties can catch a viewing of “The River” tonight at 7:00 pm in the Beardmoore Building on Main Street in Priest River. Gardenhour will be available for a short Q&A after the movie.