Tracy Droz Tragos

  • Aired:  08/07/14
  •  | Views: 19,981

Tracy Droz Tragos describes making her documentary "Rich Hill," which follows several children in a rural Missouri town. (7:17)

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TONIGHT, A FILMMAKER.

HER DOCUMENTARY IS CALLED "RICHHILL."

>> DEAR MOM.

I'VE BEEN OUT OF SCHOOL AMONTH.

I BROKE MY NECK.

JUST KIDDING.

THE PRINCIPAL SAID THAT I AIN'TGETTING ANY CREDITS FOR THIS

SEMESTER, SO THEY UNENROLLED ME.

NO I DON'T HAVE AGIRLFRIEND YET.

BIG CAPITAL LETTERS.

LOVE YOU, FROM HARLEY.

>> Jon: PLEASE WELCOME TRACYDROZ TRAGOS.

HOW ARE YOU?

NICE TO SEE YOU. COME.

>> Jon: THANK YOU VERY MUCHFOR BEING HERE.

>> THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

>> Jon: PLEASE, THIS FILM"RICH HILL" IS BEAUTIFUL AND

HEARTBREAKING AND HARD TO WATCH,BUT IMPORTANT TO WATCH.

WHAT... TELL US THE PROJECT.

>> WELL, IT'S A FILM ABOUT THREEKIDS AND THEIR FAMILIES IN

SOUTHWEST RURAL MISSOURI, A TOWNNAMED RICH HILL, WHICH IS MY

FAMILY HOMETOWN.

>> Jon: OH, YOU'RE FROM THERE?

>> IT'S WHERE MY FATHER GREW UPAND IT'S WHERE I SPENT EVERY

SUMMER AND WINTER BREAK AS AKID.

MY FATHER WAS KILLED IN VIETNAMWHEN I WAS VERY YOUNG, AND MY

GRANDPARENTS, WHO LIVED THERE,WERE LIKE SURROGATE PARENTS TO

ME.>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> SO WE WANTED TO GO BACK. IDIRECTED THIS WITH MY COUSIN.

>> Jon: RIGHT.>> WHO IS A CINEMATOGRAPHER.

AND WE WANTED TO GO BACK ANDUNDERSTAND WHAT IT WAS LIKE FOR

THE FAMILIES THAT WERESTRUGGLING THERE IN THE HOUSES

WITH THE TARPS FOR ROOFS AND,YOU KNOW, THE BROKEN WINDOWS

AND...

>> Jon: AND THIS IS A TOWNTHAT'S BEEN STRUGGLING SINCE

REALLY WORLD WAR II,SINCE THE COLD WAR.

>> YEAH IT WAS RICH HILL FORCOAL.

>> Jon: YEAH.>> AND THEN THE COAL WENT DRY.

AND THERE WAS VERY LITTLEINDUSTRY.

>> Jon: RIGHT.>> SO...

>> Jon: TOUGH. BUT IT GIVES ALOOK INTO A POVERTY THAT PEOPLE

DON'T THINK ABOUT AS MUCH.

>> YEAH, YEAH, OR DON'T THINKABOUT IN A CERTAIN KIND OF WAY.

I MEAN, WE REALLY WANTED TO TELLAN INTIMATE, EMOTIONAL, UP-CLOSE

STORY. WE DIDN'T,YOU KNOW, WE WANTED

TO TELL THE HUMAN STORY BEHINDTHE STATISTICS, AND

SOMETIMES THESE FAMILIES GET,YOU KNOW, YOU MIGHT SEE THEM

IN LIKE "HONEY BOO BOO" OR "DUCKDYNASTY."

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> BUT, IT'S KIND OF MORE OF AREALITY TV IN AND OUT.

>> Jon: YES. THIS IS NOCARICATURE OF ANYTHING.

>> NO. WE REALLYGAVE THESE KIDS AND

THEIR FAMILIES KIND OFAUTHORSHIP...

>> Jon: RIGHT.>> AND KIND OF GOT OUT OF

THE WAY AND LET THEM TELL THEIRSTORY.

>> Jon: THEY'RE WILDLY OPEN,WHICH I THOUGHT WAS ESPECIALLY

FOR THREE TEENAGE BOYS, ONES WHOALSO HAVE... I MEAN, THERE

ARE SOME VERY DIFFICULT THINGSTHAT THEY HAVE TO TALK ABOUT.

>> YEAH.

>> Jon: AND THEY ARE WILDLYAVAILABLE FOR THAT.

>> YEAH, I MEAN, THE TRUST WASKIND OF AMAZING.

AND THEY TRUSTED US.

I HOPE WE DIDN'T DO ANYTHING TOVIOLATE THAT TRUST IN THE END,

BUT, YOU KNOW, MAYBE IT WASBECAUSE MY GRANDPARENTS WERE

WELL-KNOWN IN TOWN...>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> MY GRANDMOTHER WAS A THIRDGRADE SCHOOL TEACH THAT

EVERYBODY LOVED, SO THAT WASKIND OF A GOOD CREDENTIAL FOR

US.>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> AND, YOU KNOW, I MEAN, IDON'T, I THINK ULTIMATELY THERE

WAS A FEELING OF THEM WANTINGTO TELL THEIR STORY AND

WANTING TO BE HEARD...>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> AND THEY WERE INTERESTED THATANYBODY CARED AT ALL, YOU KNOW,

THAT ANYBODY WAS KNOCKING ONTHEIR DOOR.

>> Jon: RIGHT. YEAH,I THOUGHT, I MEAN,

FOR YOU TO PUT A HUMANFACE ON THIS WAS REALLY VERY

UPSETTING TO ME.

I REALLY PREFER NOT TO THINKABOUT IT.

[LAUGHTER]SO, DAMN YOU DROZ TRAGOS.

IT'S, YOU KNOW, WHAT'SINTERESTING TO ME, SO WE HAVE

THIS IMAGE. YOU KNOW, THERE IS ACERTAIN POPULATION IN

THIS COUNTRY THAT BELIEVES THATPOVERTY IS LACK OF VIRTUE.

>> YEAH. >> Jon: AND HERE YOU

HAVE JUST LAID OUT THE HUMANITYOF THESE KIDS GOING

THROUGH THEIR STRUGGLES, THEDIFFICULTY THEY HAVE IN CLAIMING

THEIR VIRTUE AND IN JUST TRYINGTO GET BY, AND YOU CANNOT HELP

BUT THINK WE ARE SADDLING AGENERATION WITH JUST BAGGAGE

THAT IS, YOU KNOW, YOU'D HAVE TOBE SISYPHUS TO GET OUT OF THAT.

>> YEAH, I MEAN, YOU KNOW, I WASSO IMPRESSED WITH THE RESILIENCE

OF THESE KIDS.>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> I MEAN, YOU KNOW, ANDREW, ONEOF THE BOYS, HE'S SO

FRICKEN OPTIMISTIC.>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> AND YET HE HAS SO MANYCHALLENGES. AND, YOU KNOW,

I DON'T KNOW IF HE'S GOINGTO REALIZE HIS DREAMS.

I REALLY HOPE SO, I REALLYBELIEVE IN THIS KID.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> BUT, I MEAN, YOU KNOW, HISHARD WORK IS SIMPLY NOT GOING

TO BE ENOUGH. HE HAS SO MANYCHALLENGES IN HIS LIFE.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> AND THAT'S THE THING I HOPEIN SOME WAYS THIS FILM WILL

KIND OF SHIFT THE CONVERSATIONAROUND, WHICH IS, YOU KNOW, THAT

IT'S JUST FOLKS ARE LAZYOR IT'S THEIR CHOICE...

>> Jon: RIGHT.>> IF THEY FIND THEMSELVES...

>> Jon: RIGHT.>> YOU KNOW...

>> Jon: I WOULD LIKE ANYBODYTO WALK A MILE IN THESE KIDS'

SHOES...>> YEAH.

>> Jon: AND SEE HOW WELL YOU CANDO. AND WHAT

I THOUGHT WAS INTERESTING IS SOTHE CONGRESSWOMAN IN

THOSE KIDS' DISTRICT VOTED TOCUT SNAP FUNDING, WHICH I

THOUGHT WAS STUNNING.

>> YEAH.

>> Jon: AND I DON'T, I DON'TKNOW HOW YOU ARE ABLE TO SLEEP

WITH THAT DECISION.

IT'S, IT'S MIND BLOWING.

>> NO WHEN YOU'RE IN THESEHOMES AND YOU SEE HOW PEOPLE ARE

REALLY, I MEAN, THEY'RERATIONING FOOD AND WHEN

IT COMES TO THAT...

>> Jon: AND WATER AND HEATINGIT UP TO BATHE, I MEAN IT'S...

>> ABSOLUTELY.

>> Jon: IT'S INTENSE.

>> YEAH. YEAH. IT IS, IT ISINTENSE.

AND IT'S ALSO NOT WITHOUT HOPE.

I MEAN, I THINK SOME OF THESETHINGS...

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> THE PROBLEM IS COMPLEX, BUTTHERE ARE SOLUTIONS, RIGHT?

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> I MEAN, THERE ARE THINGS THATWE CAN DO TO LIFT UP FAMILIES

WHO HAVE HIT A BUMP IN THE ROAD.

>> Jon: I THOUGHT THE HOPE ISIN THOSE KIDS' RESILIENCE.

YOU KNOW, YOU CAN SEE THECHALLENGES AHEAD, BUT YOU ALSO

SEE LIKE, SOMEBODY BUYSINTO THIS KID, SOMEBODY

GIVES A LITTLE BITOF ATTENTION, LIKE THAT'S GOING

TO BE TRANSFORMATIVE.

>> YEAH, YEAH, BUT ALSO, YOUKNOW, THINK ABOUT ALL THE KIDS

THAT DON'T HAVE FILMSMADE ABOUT THEM AND WE

HOPE THAT THERE ISSOME AWARENESS...

>> Jon: WAIT IS THAT YOURPROPOSAL NOW?

WE HAVE TO GO OUT AND MAKE FILMSABOUT EVERY ONE OF THESE KIDS?

>> YEAH.>> Jon: YOU KNOW WHAT I THOUGHT

IS INTERESTING TOO IS THAT,YOU KNOW, WE'RE ACCUSTOMED TO

THERE'S URBAN POVERTY ANDRURAL POVERTY AND SOMEHOW

THEY ARE THIS DISTINCTFUNCTION. BUT THEY'RE NOT.

BUT THE DIFFICULTY OF SERVICESFOR THE MORE RURAL KIDS STRUCK

ME, THAT IT'S DIFFICULTTO GAIN SERVICES.

>> YEAH, I MEAN, THERE'S ADISTINCT STING TO RURAL POVERTY,

WHICH IS YOUR ISOLATION.>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> AND YOU KNOW, YOUR CAR BREAKSDOWN, YOU DON'T HAVE ENOUGH

MONEY FOR GAS, YOU'REREALLY STUCK.

>> Jon: RIGHT. >> AND YOU KNOW, IN

RICH HILL THEY'RE JUST NOWGETTING, YOU KNOW, 911.

I MEAN, THERE'S NOT EVEN THOSEKINDS OF SERVICES.

IT WOULD BE A VOLUNTEER FIREDEPARTMENT THAT WOULD RESPOND TO

CALLING THEM DIRECTLY.

>> Jon: RIGHT. IT'S AMAZING.

IT'S AN AMAZING PROJECT.

AND I'M SO GLAD THAT YOU WEREABLE TO BRING IT TO EVERYBODY.

AND I RECOMMEND IT.

"RICH HILL" IT'S AVAILABLE ONITUNES, AMAZON, VIDEO ON

DEMAND. IT'S ALSO GOING TO BE INTHEATERS, YES?

>> IT'S IN THEATERS RIGHT NOW.

>> Jon: IT'S IN THEATERS RIGHTNOW AND IT'S GOING TO OPEN IN

MORE CITIES THROUGHOUT AUGUST IFPEOPLE GO SEE IT.

SO, I RECOMMEND YOU DO IT.

TRACY DROZ TRAGOS, THANK YOU SOMUCH.

Loading...