In their bestselling book Our Towns, legendary journalists James and Deborah Fallows travel America for five years, looking at how small towns and cities respond to setbacks.
In 2018, Oscar-nominees Steven Ascher & Jeanne Jordan teamed up with them to make a panoramic yet intimate feature documentary for HBO about Americans creatively confronting the biggest issues of our time. The film calls special attention to the power of localism, and the growing social movement of people who choose to live in these towns.
Our Towns has an unusual, pointillistic kind of storytelling and finds unexpected connections between personal stories, community actions and the arc of history. The camera is often in flight, with stunning perspectives on the landscape that form a narrative of their own.
Our Towns was filmed before the pandemic, but it speaks to how the country (and the world) can find its way forward from this precarious moment.
For a lot of Americans, a sense of community and a common language of change can seem out of reach in these toxic times. Called “subversively hopeful,” Our Towns rises above tropes and tribalism to remind us that there’s another way to see who we really are.
Premieres on HBO April 13, 2021. Continues on HBO MAX.
For more on the book and the Fallows see Our Towns