The Mountain Times

°F Sun, April 20, 2014

Central Vermont's Most Popular Weekly Newspaper

Flood Bound, a documentary on Irene, features the Pittsfield community

To mark the one-year anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene, Vermont Public Television screened "Flood Bound," a film by independent filmmaker and Pittsfield, Vt., resident Marion Abrams Thursday, August 16, at 8 p.m. and Monday, August 20 at 7 p.m. it will air again, one last time, on Aug 25 at 4 p.m.

Cut off from the outside world when Irene struck, destroying homes and cutting off the roads to the north and south, neighbors in the small town came together. They rescued one another, then they found ways to share resources and cope with the aftermath.
Photos and video of the destruction and recovery in Pittsfield are interwoven with moving interviews of residents, as they tell their stories. Abrams said, "A community that was always self-reliant, strong, ingenious and generous proved itself, like so many other Vermont towns, to be even more so when faced with challenge."

Abrams says something amazing happened after Irene hammered her town. When locals realized they were cut off, had no power nor cell phone service they turned to each other and went to work. Abrams was so moved by what she saw in her town of about 550 people that she made a movie about it, "Flood Bound."

While her house is still standing, she says it was touch and go for a while and most of her yard was washed away. Abrams says during and after the storm, she like everyone in town did what they could to help pick up the pieces.

"The guys with the excavators just started working without being asked, without being told," says Abrams. "And the medical people set up a medical facility and parents started running a school to take care of kids on the green."

Someone else taught yoga, she says another woman cut hair - some people cooked.

"And I started videotaping 'cuz that's what I do," says Abrams. "I really wanted to tell the story about what happened in Pittsfield. I felt like it was a really amazing, magical thing and I wanted people to understand and see it."

Abrams admits she didn't film as much as she wanted to.

"If I saw somebody digging silt out of their house," she says, "I shouldn't be taking pictures of it. I should be helping them or encouraging them but not sort of standing aside."

Still, with 38 interviews, storm footage and photographs, Abrams weaves together an hour-long film that tells an intimate and powerful story of neighbors facing down their fears and coming together.

Vermont Public Television's Kathryn A Scott says, "Beyond just dealing with the flood and the anniversary, this particular film shows what I think Vermonters like to believe about themselves."

Scott says VPT will broadcast Abrams' film, "Flood Bound," three times over the next 10 days.

Scott says you can't help but be moved by it. "I found my eyes welling up with tears just because I was overcome with emotion with how compassionate these people are in just simple ways how much they demonstrated their care for each other. Truly," says Scott, " I'm not just saying that I get chills when I watch it. It's the very best that Vermont offers to itself."

In the film, locals express how their feelings about the town and each other changed because of the storm.

Traci Templeton put it this way. "The people that I saw at the post office - now when I say hi to them we have this between us, we have what happened between us and for me that's pretty special and that's the magic."

For more information on the movie, check out


"'27 Flood" looks at Vermont's Great Flood of 1927 through VPT's archival footage and interviews on August 13 at 7:30 p.m., August 24 at 10:30 p.m. and August 25 at 11:30 p.m.,

Then a new 13-minute animated short called "Mad River Rising" will air. Based on the play by Dana Yeaton, it was produced by Middlebury College alumni and students. It features original music by Anais Mitchell.

On August 23 at 8 p.m., "Impact Irene, A Public Square Special" offers updates on recovery efforts, fundraising and more. Wilmington, Pittsfield and Rochester, Vt., will be highlighted. Viewers will be invited to join in with their questions in this live program.

Recalling one of the outstanding benefit events that followed the storm, VPT will re-broadcast "Grace Potter & the Nocturnals: Goodnight Irene" on August 24 at 9 p.m. and again August 25 at 10 p.m. The band performed a sold-out concert last October at Burlington's Flynn Center.

Tagged: hurricane irene, Documentary