IF YOU BUILD IT is a documentary by filmmaker Patrick Creadon, that has been brought to my attention by my good friend (and excellent architectural photographer) Brad Feinknopf. I was lucky enough to be able to screen this film last weekend and thought it was worth letting other people know that it’s definitely worth your time and money to see.
IF YOU BUILD IT follows designer-activists Emily Pilloton and Matthew Miller to rural Bertie County, the poorest in North Carolina, where they work with local high school students to help transform both their community and their lives. Living on credit and grant money and fighting a change-resistant school board, Pilloton and Miller lead their students through a year-long, full-scale design and build project that does much more than just teach basic construction skills: it shows ten teenagers the power of design-thinking to re-invent not just their town but their own sense of what’s possible. Directed by Patrick Creadon and produced by Christine O’Malley and Neal Baer, IF YOU BUILD IT offers a compelling and hopeful vision for a new kind of classroom in which students learn the tools to design their own futures.
In my initial conversations with Brad Feinknopf, he mentioned that he was watching a program on TV titled “Character Approved” and had learned of Emily Pilloton. Brad was so impressed with her that he reached out to see if he assist her with anything. Emily invited Brad down to Windsor, North Carolina while they were filming IF YOU BUILD IT where he helped them out with the architectural photography of the final project the students had designed and built.
IF YOU BUILD IT will be screening in my neighborhood March 21st – 23rd at the Modern Art Museum of Ft. Worth but I know that there will others who live elsewhere that will want to watch this film. The movie is currently screening around the US [click here for locations that might be near you] and if you are in the field of architecture (or if interested in design – not that they’re mutually exclusive), this is a can’t miss movie. Besides, I am dying to talk about it with someone. This is one of those movies that is at the same time joyous and sorrowful … I found myself rooting for teachers Matt an Emily, cursing the school board, cheering on the students … but things hardly go as you think they should.
I do hope you can find the time if you are lucky enough to have the movie screen in an area near you. I’d like to thank my friend Brad for bringing this movie to may attention and for allowing me to use his beautiful photography in today’s post. I’d also like to thank Patrick Creadon and his wife Christine O’Malley for letting me screen the movie.
Enjoy the show,