Bridging the gap: 4 Lawrence Co. residents in Boston as part of special documentary


Producer/Director Susanne Goldstein, left, facing camera, discusses details with Line Producer Rachel Trobman, as Team LC member Kacey Hall, right, looks on. / Loretta Gillespie

MOULTON – The Tribune’s Loretta Gillespie is on a special journey this week. She is one of four people from Lawrence County who are in Boston for a project called “Just Smile Boston.”

Gillespie, along with Kacey Hall and Proncey and Kristi Robertson make up Team LC; the team’s mission is to help bridge the gap between rural and urban communities as a part of a documentary series called “The Exchange.” The documentary’s website calls it “a series about people who live in different places, face different challenges and experience our country in completely different ways.”

ExchangeNation Founder and CEO Susanne Goldstein said on the project’s funding website, “As a city-person from Boston, MA, and a citizen who cares deeply about the Divide in our country, I set out earlier this year to shoot the documentary film ‘Blue Girl in a Red State’ in Lawrence County, Alabama. I wanted to help ‘burst the bubble’ that many have been living in and share the hopes and dreams of a Southern, rural community with city dwellers around the country. I began to understand why our affiliations, hopes and dreams are so different, and as I did, the project morphed into a documentary TV series we’re calling ‘The Exchange.’”

Goldstein further explained the project: “Lawrence County, Alabama (LC) is a Red County in the Northwestern part of the state along the Tennessee River. It was decimated in 2013 when the County’s main employer, International Paper, closed overnight leaving 30 percent of the working-adults in the county without a way to support their families. Team Boston, a group of talented business people and marketers will come to LC to work on a project called ‘Lawrence County is Open for Business’ that will focus on teaching the people of LC how to showcase their county to companies looking to bring jobs back to our country.

“Boston, Massachusetts has almost everything going for it, but is also known for being unfriendly and hard to get to know. Team LC, a group of hospitality ambassadors will come to Boston to work on a project called ‘Smile Boston’ that will focus on helping Bostonian soften their rough exteriors in hopes of becoming a friendlier city.”

Goldstein and her crew have been in Lawrence County this year meeting with residents and shooting video as a part of the documentary.

Team LC arrived in Boston on Tuesday.

Gillespie said, “We arrived in Boston just as the sun set over the bay. I was shocked to note that the runway is just a few feet from the shoreline. I could literally have tossed my gum into the water had the plane had roll-down windows.

“Our drive was harrowing. Boston drivers are worse than Nashville drivers! But the lights and scenery that we saw as we whizzed past were beautiful. We ate a late supper at the Boston Cafeteria and returned to the hotel, tired and anxious about what tomorrow would bring.”       

Gillespie will be sending updates each day. On Wednesday, she reported, “It's gray and chilly, but the hotel lobby is bustling. Today we visit We Work, which is like a huge business incubator, and some neighborhoods that have undergone urban renewal. This trip is part of an innovative new concept of pairing sister communities, much like sister-cities. It is the brainchild of produce- director Susanne Goldstein, a Bostonian who wants to bridge the gap between rural and urban America, while preserving the culture of each. You can find out more about this project by visiting ExchangeNation on Facebook.”

Gillespie and the rest of Team LC will meet with Team Boston, along with city and business leaders, on Thursday evening. The event, called “Healing the Divide: Rural and Urban Americans Connect and Act,” can be found on Facebook at

Look for more updates at, and follow Team LC’s journey on and

The videos in this article are Copyright 2017 ExchangeNation LLC.

Article Copyright 2017 Humble Roots, LLC. All Rights Reserved.