For Immediate Release August 24, 2011
In a world where print media is dying fast, a new documentary shows what it takes to make an honest living at a weekly newspaper in a small town.
On Wednesday, September 7 at 9pm, TVO will present the world broadcast premiere of Unheralded, the new 30-minute documentary by CH Films in co-production with the National Film Board of Canada. Filmed in the summer of 2010, Unheralded is a portrait of The Lakefield Herald, a feel-good weekly newspaper in the picturesque village of Lakefield, Ontario, 20 minutes north of Peterborough. The paper’s publisher/paperboy Terry McQuitty and his dedicated four person staff bring locals the news that matters, from 65th wedding anniversaries to fishing derbies. Not exactly hardhitting stuff – and that’s just the way they like it. The film shows it is precisely the community-first emphasis that keeps readers coming back (and keeps the doors open on the converted Victorian home that serves as the Herald’s office). Throughout the documentary, Toronto filmmakers Allie Caldwell and Aaron Hancox follow McQuitty, a tireless jack-of-all trades, as he and his staff report stories and prepare an edition of their weekly paper. Hancox and Caldwell (who was born and raised in Lakefield and narrates the film) were drawn to the story in part because The Herald appears to be such an anomaly. Hancox says, “With changing consumption patterns and the death of print and the ad model, newspapers are hurting. We asked ourselves, ‘if The New York Times is struggling, how on earth does The Lakefield Herald survive?’” Caldwell, who left Lakefield 8 years ago to go to university, was surprised at what she found when she returned to her hometown: “We discovered that The Herald isn’t just surviving – it’s thriving. With corporate takeovers of news agencies, papers can become faceless, lacking any personality. They’re filled with news of the world straight off the wire. The Herald fills a void for Lakefield residents by being the complete opposite – hyper-local. And in that regard, they’ve been rewarded a loyal readership, albeit of an older population…” Apart from the paper’s local focus and the area’s ageing population, Unheralded makes the case for another key factor in the paper’s success. “A lot of blood, sweat, and tears goes into running a community paper and we hope our film shows that off,” says Caldwell. “Hard work is definitely the x-factor. It’s not easy being the publisher of a paper in a place where the readers (and the advertisers) are your next-door neighbours,” says Hancox Unheralded was produced by CH Films Inc. in co-production with the National Film Board of Canada and in association with TV Ontario as part of the Calling Card Program. The film was also produced in association with SCN and Knowledge with the participation of the Rogers Documentary Fund.
Unheralded premieres Wednesday, September 7 at 9PM on TV Ontario. For interviews or press inquiries contact Aaron Hancox at email@example.com or (416) 8263762. Documentary production company CH Films Inc. was formed in Toronto by filmmakers Aaron Hancox and Allie Caldwell in 2009 after the two met in Montreal and began working together in 2004. Their work has been shown in festivals in Canada, the U.S. and Europe, and on CTV and the CBC. Cinema Lâ€™Amour, their first collaboration was a portrait of the famous porn theatre of the same name. It won Best Student Documentary at the Montreal World Film Festival in 2006.