“If You Build It”: Wallace State Shows Last Independent Film in Series

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HANCEVILLE – The final film in the Southern Tour of Independent Filmmakers was shown at the Burrow Center Recital Hall at Wallace State on Thursday, April 9. “If You Build It” follows two teachers, 10 students and one epic homework assignment in rural Bertie County, the poorest in North Carolina. 

The documentary, directed by Patrick Creadon, follows designer-activists Emily Pilloton and Matthew Miller, as they work with high school students to help transform both their communities and their lives through a building project.

We really thought it was an interesting idea about a side of public education that you don’t hear a lot about.”
Christine O’Malley, Filmmaker

Living on credit and grant money and fighting a change-resistant school board, Pilloton and Miller lead their students through a year-long, full-scale design and build project that did much more than just teach basic construction skills: it showed 10 teenagers the power of design-thinking to re-invent not just their town, but their own sense of what’s possible.

“Our producing partner connected us with Emily, the designer for the film,” said Christine O’Malley, filmmaker, “and she was just about to go off and do this project in Bertie County, North Carolina, a place I’d never heard of. We didn’t know anything about it but it sounded like an interesting story. After we finished talking to her, we really thought it was an interesting idea about a side of public education that you don’t hear a lot about.”

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Christine O’Malley has been making documentaries for film and television as a writer and producer for over 15 years.

She began her work in non-fiction on the Biography series for A & E before transitioning into long form documentaries. O’Malley served as associate producer on the Academy-Award nominated documentary film “Enron: The Smartest Gus In The Room” in 2004. 

For more information about the film, visit IfYouBuildItMovie.com.