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Group745
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Group745
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Group745
Creative in association withGear Seven
Group745

Moving Short Documentary Shows the Real Side of Flint, Michigan

05/06/2019
Production Company
Brooklyn, USA
110
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Bradley Tangonan directs 'Forged in Flint' starring real small business owners

REVERSE director Bradley Tangonan recently shot 'Forged in Flint', a poignant short documentary for Square’s 'For Every Kind of Dream' film series. The film tells the story of small businesses turning the tide in Flint, Michigan.

From coffee shops to nail salons to shoe makers, 'Forged in Flint' profiles a number of business owners and locals who stayed in Flint and are playing a part in its comeback. The short concludes with a powerful statistic: since 2014, sales at small businesses using Square in Flint have increased 250%.

“The ability of entrepreneurs in Flint to thrive through adversity, invest in their community when many were moving away, and foster a sense of pride and resilience through original small business growth is an inspiring story that we realised hadn’t been told yet,” says Square’s studio lead Justin Lomax. “By allowing them to share their story of grit and hustle in their own words, we hope it helps cast a more positive light on what is really happening in Flint - innovation led by a diverse group of locals.”

“Most of what the world hears about Flint comes from everyone but the people of Flint, so we wanted this film to be a mouthpiece for the Flint community and businesses,” adds Tangonan. “It was equally important to convey the nuance that Flint isn’t necessarily a place that needs saving, but that it still faces an uphill journey in rebuilding for its future. We connected with amazing people in the community who were willing to share their experiences and hopes so that we could balance those different sides.”

Tangonan and the Square team did a number of phone pre-interviews with small business owners, as well as the community at large. In the process, they were able to draw a connection between music, food, creativity, and community. Tangonan documented the Girls Rock Flint concert, which he says became a symbol of the strength of community bonds that the entire story is built on.

Tangonan worked closely with editor Steven Dupré, creating audio-only cuts of the story that they could work from to craft the visual narrative.

“This piece for Square demonstrates Bradley’s ability to capture the human spirit and resilience, creating the right mood through details, framing, and cinematography,” concludes Thibaut Estellon, founder/executive producer of REVERSE, which reps Tangonan as a commercial director. “He has a true knack for finding beauty in the most unsuspecting of places, and knowing what’s essential to push the storytelling along.”

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