Premiering in March 2022 in Season 10 of the acclaimed documentary series
America ReFramed on World Channel and PBS.
FOR THE LOVE OF RUTLAND explores the complex life of a blue-collar New England town as a partial microcosm/mirror of our current national and global reality. An attempt to bring new life to an economically struggling and overwhelmingly white community – through refugee resettlement – unleashes deep partisan rancor and opens new fissures within the city’s small population of 15,000. Stacie, after a lifetime of being invalidated and shamed for her poverty and addiction, emerges as an unexpected and resilient leader in a town divided by class, cultural values, and the toxic politics of today.
The film explores the forces racking much of post-industrial and rural America – including income inequality, the opioid epidemic, falling populations, xenophobia, and the normalization of “white rage.” But FOR THE LOVE OF RUTLAND also uncovers passionate civic engagement, intense love of home, and the stories of ordinary people who become extraordinary in their desire to think and feel for themselves.
One of the 10 Most Exciting Films at Hot Docs.
Refreshing…As racism and xenophobia run rampant in the United States’ small towns, suburbs, and cities alike, For the Love of Rutland reminds us that empathy still exists.
Documentary gold… captures perfectly the tensions and ideological rifts of contemporary America.
In 2016, Stacie is barely scraping by in the small city of Rutland, Vermont. Manufacturing jobs have moved out, the opioid crisis has moved in and the working poor are at their breaking point. Stacie collects bottles to stretch her husband’s unemployment benefits, while she raises her kids and keeps herself off heroin. So when Rutland’s mayor takes the controversial step of accepting 100 Syrian refugees as part of his economic diversification plan, Stacie is torn. With so few jobs and government resources available to the people who already live there, residents begin to split along xenophobic and compassionate lines.
Invalidated all her life for her poverty and addiction, Stacie could just as easily succumb to the white rage that crystallizes around her as identify with the intense daily struggles she shares with the incoming refugees. Nuanced and passionate, this fascinating look at a town divided reveals an unlikely hero caught in a flashpoint.