Many people probably do not know this story. But in a small town in East Alabama, a dog named Fred who was homeless brought many people together. Back in 1993, a dirty and disheveled dog wandered into the town of Rockford Alabama. The people took the dog in and nursed him back to health. The people named the dog “Fred” – the town dog.
The story takes place in the small town of Rockford Alabama in the rural Coosa County. The town only has around 400 residents and it’s the county seat for Coosa County. This town is in a very rural area where everyone knows everyone.. With a county newspaper that is only published once a week, a local law enforcement of only 2 officers, and a downtown area that consists of only one block, Rockford is in many ways a time capsule. This quintessential southern town has suffered in recent years; many of the town’s shops have been forced to close, and meanwhile many of the town’s inhabitants have moved away in search of job opportunities.
The film which is produced and directed by Ava Lowrey, will gain insight into the individuals who cared for him while exploring the town’s narrative, specifically the narrative of an increasingly deserted area on the verge of becoming another southern ghost town. A large theme of the film will be the desire for companionship, which Fred met, and the fear of abandonment and loneliness. The film will explore exactly what Fred meant to the individuals who cared for him and why they were so willing to care for a dog that showed up as nothing more than a dirty mutt.
The film is being produced and directed by Ava Lowrey who is a current senior at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts studying documentary production. She has had her work featured in the New York Times, CNN, Rolling Stone Magazine, and more. Ava is a native of Alexander City Alabama which is only 30 minutes from Rockford Alabama. This project is very personal to Ava and she is excited to share part of her southern roots with audiences. Other people working on this film includes Justin Levine, Tori Gene McCarthy, and Hamp Haynes who is also from Alexander City.
FRED: The Town Dog is currently in post-production. The filmmakers are raising funds to help them complete the film. They still have to edit, color correct, and score the film, after which they will begin to submit the film to various festivals. Fred has received fiscal sponsorship from From The Heart Productions and all donations are tax deductible.
The filmmakers aim to use this film to bring awareness to the economic struggles Rockford, and other towns like it, are currently facing. Since community is an important part of their film, they plan to take Fred back to the Rockford, AL community and screen it there along with other small towns throughout the Southeast. Through these screenings they hope to open a dialogue among the towns about small town culture and the current state of these communities. Additionally, they hope that these screenings will draw audiences from nearby larger towns and bring awareness to the struggle that small towns face along with revenue for the towns.
Fred was a beloved member of the community for many years before passing away on December 23, 2002. The group needs to raise at least $4,000 to complete the film.
To donate money for this film, go to: http://www.indiegogo.com/fredthetowndog.
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