There is an old schoolhouse hidden behind the overgrowth in Williamson County, Tennessee, with a story that’s only recently been discovered. No one knew, not even even the students themselves – now in their seventies and eighties – that the 100-year old structure is one of the few remaining Rosenwald schools still standing. What does this mean? To the preservationists at The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, it means they’ve uncovered a national treasure in their own backyard that must be protected and restored.
Telling a forgotten story
The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County understands the power of emotional storytelling to educate and inspire its donors. So before work even began on the restoration of the newly-discovered Rosenwald school, the foundation reached out to Stonecastle to document the entire two-year process from start to finish. The project would ultimately become a documentary, but the immediate need was to create this short fundraising video.
Our biggest challenge as filmmakers was to identify a compelling story about the restoration. Because without characters and conflict, it’s just a video about an old building. Working with historians at the foundation, Stonecastle launched into a research phase that produced rare images, archival films, and most important: the names of former students who would provide us with the emotional core of our story.
About the partnership
As a frequent storytelling partner for the Heritage Foundation, the Stonecastle team works to help translate its vision and current on-the-ground efforts into branded video content that drives awareness. It takes a certain skill to get audiences interested in old places and long-forgotten people, but we like a good challenge. We’re especially proud of the short documentary we made for the Heritage Foundation’s 50th anniversary celebration.