Film aims to capture positive view of city
By Brent Curtis
staff writer | July 09,2014
Albert J. Marro / Staff Photo
Nick Grandchamp, left, and Sarah Schreiber are featured in a new anti-drug movie that will open Saturday at Merchants Hall in Rutland.
Kyle Finck and Hannah Bristol aren’t from Rutland — or Vermont for that matter.
But after seeing the way the city was portrayed in national media stories about heroin abuse in Vermont earlier this year, the two Middlebury College students began work on a documentary premiering Saturday in Rutland.
They hope it represents a more accurate depiction of the city’s people and spirit.
The focus of the documentary, “Straight Out of Rutland,” is a young couple — Nick Grandchamp and Sarah Schreiber — who are followers of straight-edge punk, a subculture of the punk music scene whose members abstain from activities such as drinking, smoking, drugs and promiscuous sex.
“We wanted to tell a different story,” said Finck, who graduated from the college in May and now lives in New York. “The traditional story was about urban blight and drugs but that’s not what we were seeing.”
Bristol, who spent a semester working in Rutland as part of her environmental studies program, said it was a conversation over breakfast and a New York Times story about heroin in Rutland that focused the project for her and Finck.
“I was telling him about the class and about working in Rutland and the people I’d met there, when I saw the front-page heroin story and couldn’t believe the contrast between what I read and what I’d seen.”
Finck, who had just finished a documentary on men’s basketball, suggested using the camera and editing equipment he still had to make a documentary about Rutland.
The straight-edge scene in Rutland wasn’t their first choice.
“Originally, we were trying to connect with the mayor, a police officer and a community member,” Finck said. “We wanted to follow them and shoot from a fly-on-the-wall perspective.”
But before those participants could be lined up, the filmmakers met Grandchamp and Schreiber, a young Rutland couple trying to change their community through music and straight edge concepts.
Grandchamp is a member of two straight-edge punk bands, including Get A Grip, which will play after the 20-minute documentary is aired at Merchants Hall on Saturday. He he loves the city he grew up in and hopes to change views of it and the young people living there through his music.
“I want to show people they can do something besides drugs,” said Grandchamp, 27. “They can do something they’re passionate about and they love.”
The punk music he loves is the perfect vehicle for change, he said.
“Sometimes to make change you need to get angry and the music is like a call to action,” he said.
Schreiber, 22, isn’t in a band, but she said she follows the straight-edge tenet of doing good works in her community through her job at the Homeless Prevention Center in Rutland.
In the documentary, the filmmakers followed her on visits with clients, including a trip to the Serenity House residential detox program in Wallingford.
“I think the film is more about raising awareness that there’s something being done about the problem than just the fact that there is a problem,” Schreiber said.
“Straight Out of Rutland” will air at 6 p.m. on Saturday in Merchants Hall followed by a question and answer session and musical sets by four bands, including Get A Grip, Morning Comes Early, Phil Henry Acoustic Trio and George Nostrand.