Synopsis for The Blood in this Town

The Blood in this Town focuses on Rutland, Vermont, a struggling blue-collar town that is now rallying to revitalize itself — creating a blueprint for revival that could save a recession-battered America.

The film is a portrait of a small town in America, and of an America at pivotal crossroads — where past glories and fading industrial might collide head-on with the urgent need to envision and forge a new way forward. Once a boomtown built on railroads, quarries and manufacturing, Rutland is like thousands of small towns and cities that have declined even in good times, left behind in the wake of globalization. Now hit by the nation’s economic downturn, Rutland grapples with the highest unemployment in the state, loss of manufacturing jobs, rising poverty and the flight of its young people. Here, the old America is broken, it’s gone and it’s not coming back. Yet Rutland has managed a profound response to uncertain times

The Blood in this Town chronicles Rutland's drive to revitalize during America's deep economic crisis, using the town's remarkable Gift-of-Life blood drive to explore how an ailing rust-belt town can rebuild from the grassroots up. Rutland’s act of giving blood in record-breaking numbers becomes a powerful symbol of renewal and social change that radiates throughout the community - in initiatives to engage new ideas and create sustainable businesses, world-class natural recreation, farm-to-table networks, entrepreneurial start-ups, and the revival of a historic downtown. 

Today, this town of 15,000 is wrestling with America’s identity and future. While The New York Times chronicles “Broke Town, USA” and growing ranks of U.S. towns facing bankruptcy, Rutland has been doing the heavy lifting of community-building and turnaround. This town is recapturing true pioneer spirit to forge alternate paths on a new American frontier. Best of all, Rutland offers models for revitalization that are transferable to embattled towns and cities across the nation.


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