“Save It!” a short film by Ryan White of Tri21 Media and Denise Hood of Creative Juices Marketing nabbed first prize in the recent “Save Our Bridge” video contest sponsored by the Staunton Downtown Development Association (SDDA). The contest, held in collaboration with the Friends of the Sears Hill Bridge and The Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge and funded by LingoNetworks, was part of a series of events crafted by the SDDA to bring attention to the fundraising efforts to replace the popular historic landmark.
White and Hood’s film featured downtown merchants and employees holding up “Save It!” posters and sharing what the bridge represents to them and why it should be restored. At a screening of the winning films at the Visulite Cinema in Staunton on Sunday, June 26, White and Hood shared anecdotes describing the enthusiasm and concern they discovered within the community while filming the video.
An honorable mention prize was awarded to 13 year-old Rachel Dixon, whose film “Stan” was the story of a young girl doing a project about the Sears Hill Bridge who stumbles upon a bridge troll who is upset about the loss of his bridge.
The two winning films plus a production called “It Takes More than Love to Build a Bridge” that was created by the SDDA and released in late April were shown at the event. Frank Strassler of the Historic Staunton Foundation gave a presentation about the history of the bridge. Music from local bluegrass band Hound Dog Hill Boys and appearances by the actors from the films rounded out the evening.
The historic Sears Hill Bridge that has provided a valuable pedestrian link between the Sears Hill neighborhood and downtown Staunton for more than a century was condemned in January of 2010. After months of conversation about restoration and who would foot the bill, the bridge was removed on November 1st and stored until funds could be raised. Friends of the Sears Hill Bridge, a committee formed in December 2010 to raise money to restore the bridge estimates the restoration will cost $200,000. More than $90,000 has been raised to date.