Michael A. Sawyers
CUMBERLAND — “Our Town — Cumberland,” a citizen-filmed production of Maryland Public Television, will be aired for the first time March 9 at 7 p.m. and will feature actor William H. Macy talking about growing up in the Queen City of the Alleghenies.
“Our Town — Cumberland” includes Frostburg footage and follows similar MPT programs featuring Chestertown and Hagerstown.
Following local successful fundraising to finance the effort — just shy of $40,000 — MPT put cameras in the hands of area residents and told them to have at it, to capture on video the things that make Cumberland a special place in which to live and work.
Filmers supplied MPT producer Steve Smith with 40 hours of film on Cumberland that has been whittled into a 60-minute show.
MPT Vice President Rick Lore said Friday that he had just seen the first 30 minutes that morning and that he considered it to be terrific.
“Flying our producer Steve Smith to Los Angeles to interview William Macy turned out great,” Lore said.
The program will feature education, health care, economic development and the arts scene among other pieces of Cumberland life.
Dave Williams of McClarran & Williams, a local advertising/marketing firm, was a filmer.
“My big reaction right now is curiosity,” Williams said Friday. “Essentially, MPT put the content of the show in our hands so it won’t be colored by the views of others.”
Williams said he knows that MPT asked for extra footage of Heritage Days and downtown Cumberland.
Lore said MPT had learned from its first two productions and, with the help of local citizens, more tightly scripted the Cumberland version.
Earlier in the process, Stu Czapski, executive director of the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce, called the local cost a bargain.
“To pay the full cost of this kind of production, including bringing a film crew here, would be $200,000,” he said.
Frostburg resident Gary Horowitz is a member of the MPT Foundation. He said “Our Town — Cumberland” will have a long shelf life.
“There are repeat showings on MPT that is also received in D.C. and Northern Virginia. It will air as well on public television in West Virginia, and WQED in Pittsburgh will televise it,” Horowitz told the Times-News part-way through production.
Contact Michael A. Sawyers at email@example.com.