RI filmmaker documenting story of Slatersville
NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I. — For nearly 10 years, local filmmaker Christian de Rezendes has been toiling behind the camera, unearthing the history, and tracking down those who are still around, to document the story of Slatersville in Woonsocket.
"It's the 200-year history in the course of an evolution of that first industrialized center," he said.
From its planned inception in 1803, by the brother of Samuel Slater, who started Slater Mill in Pawtucket, John Slater set out to the Rhode Island countryside to create the working-living, hydro-powered cloth manufacturing community.
"In Pawtucket, things were sort of surrounding them and they could not expand," de Rezendes said.
There were many heydays, and many downtimes -- the company sale to the Kendalls, its demise and abandonment in the 1950s, and its rebirth as apartments just a few years ago.
"Saturday nights you could go knock on any door up and down any street in town here. 'Come on in, come on in. Have a beer. Play cards,'" said Maria Prette in a clip from the documentary.Just a short hike up the hill where everyone worked, were the grocery store and the bank in one building. And just further down was the housing where they all lived.
All of it was owned by the company.There are stories within stories of this yet to be finished documentary.
De Rezendes has received grants from Rhode Island arts and humanities councils, the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor as well as private money, but said he still needs help.
His target date to complete the documentary is the end of 2015.