Friday, June 21, 2013

Thanks for support

Jim Heltz, Grace Heltz and Steve Mease at the Williston Community Portrait. (Photo by Marianne Apfelbaum) 

Thanks to all of you who attended the dessert social and film premiere of “Williston Revisited.”

The film would not have been possible without the contributions of many community members who volunteered their time and talent.
It was an amazing experience working with you all. We were struck by the love and loyalty people have for this town.
We feel blessed to be part of such a supportive, caring community. We discovered that the people of Williston have many stories and we hope we can tell more of them in the future!
Grace and Jim Heltz
Williston
This letter appeared in the Williston Observer on June 20, 2013

'Willston Revisited' DVD Available at Williston Locations

The new documentary, "Williston Revisited: A Community Portrait," is available for purchase at several area locations in Williston. The price is $20, tax included. The film, which looks at the changes in Williston over the past 20 years, is 46 minutes long. Also included on the DVD as a bonus is the original "Williston: A Community Portrait" produced in 1992.
  • The Dorothy Alling Memorial Library
  • Adams Farm Market
  • Passport Video 
You can also order a copy from Green Mountain Video, PO Box 938, Williston, Vt. 05495 or by calling 802-872-7000. 

The DVD will be available for sale during the 2013 Williston July Fourth celebrations on July 3 and July 4. 
The film will be shown in the Williston Central School Auditorium on July 4 on a continuous loop. 


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

‘Williston Revisited’ to Premiere on June 7

Local Filmmaker Looks at 20 Years of Change in Fast-Growing Vermont Town

The Cover of the DVD for Williston Revisited.
WILLISTON, Vt. - The Town of Williston will celebrate the 250th anniversary of its charter signing on June 7 with the premier of Williston Revisited: A Community Portrait. The film by Willistonian James Heltz of Green Mountain Video chronicles the changes in Williston over the past 20 years.

In 1991, Heltz created “Williston: A Community Portrait,” a 26-minute documentary, which covered two-plus centuries of Williston history. It won awards from the Vermont Historical Society and American Association for State and Local History. It premiered at Williston Central School on July 2, 1992 as part of the Town’s Vermont Bicentennial Celebration and aired on Vermont Public Television.

In “Williston Revisited” residents reflect on its recent history and address the question of how a fast-growing community can maintain its sense of identity in the face of tremendous change.

Two decades ago, Maple Tree Place was farmland. Wal-Mart hadn’t been built. Allen Brook School didn’t exist. The fire department was mostly volunteers. In 1990, Williston’s population was 4,887, as of the last census in 2010, it was nearly double at 8,698.

Filmmaker Jim Heltz, left, and Willistonian
 Bill Skiff as Thomas Chittenden. 
“When I moved to Williston, back in 1990, there was no supermarket, there was no pharmacy,” Heltz said. “You’d have to go to Hinesburg, Essex Junction or South Burlington to go to a supermarket or find a pharmacy.”

 “There has been a tremendous amount of change in 20 years,” he said. “It seemed like a project that would be perfect to help the town mark its 250th anniversary on June 7."  Heltz collaborated with his wife, Grace Heltz, on the 16 interviews over the past year, and with local photographer and journalist Stephen Mease on the project. Major financial support for the project came from the Friends of Dorothy Alling Memorial Library, and the Williston Historical Society.
  
https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/images/cleardot.gifThe premiere of the film will be on Friday, June 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Williston Central School Auditorium. The day is also the birthday of Ginger Isham, whom Heltz interviewed in the first installment of Williston’s film history and revisits in the new film.

 
The Isham Family 
“Their story is very similar to Williston’s development, how they’ve changed,” Heltz said of the Isham Farm, which now produces maple syrup, corn, sunflowers and berry products. “Twenty years ago, the Isham Farm was a dairy farm with Jersey cows. There’s one calf on the premises now. So they’ve diversified how they’re farming. It’s farming, but it’s not usually what you’d think of when you think of a Vermont farm.”

Like the Ishams, Heltz has adapted to changing times. The first Williston community portrait was made on Betacam SP, then the industry standard for video production and distributed on VHS. The updated documentary was filmed in widescreen high-definition digital and will be available on DVD. 

The original “Williston: A Community Portrait” was divided into three main sections: the historic past, the present and a look to the future. Through the use of photos, paintings, news clippings, artifacts, maps and on-camera interviews Williston’s history, people and voices were recorded. It premiered at Williston Central School on July 2, 1992 as part of the Town’s Vermont Bicentennial Celebration.

For the new film, Heltz dispensed with voiceover narration in favor of on-camera interviews and visual montages set to music. The film is visually rich with images captured in the community over the past year and includes a wide range of interviews with new and long-time residents about life and change in Williston. 

For the June 7 premiere, the public can gather for a community dessert potluck at 6:30 p.m. at the Williston Central School cafeteria, followed by a big-screen showing of “Williston Revisited – A Community Portrait” at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium. The event is free and open to the public

Copies of the film will be available for purchase at the premiere and during the town’s annual July Fourth festivities for $20. For more information about the project and to see some excerpts visit the website http://williston-revisited.blogspot.com/ or call (802) 872-7000.

“WILLISTON REVISITED: A COMMUNITY PORTRAIT” FILM PREMIERE:  Friday, June 7, at 7:30 p.m. in Williston Central School auditorium, Williston. The premiere of a new documentary about Williston and the changes in town during the past 20 years by Williston filmmaker James Heltz, owner of Green Mountain Video. Part of the town’s 250thcelebration of its charter on June 7, 1863. Free and open to the public. A community dessert potluck will be held at 6:30 prior to the film showing. For more information, visit http://williston-revisited.blogspot.com/ or call (802) 872-7000.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Filmmaker revisits Williston’s past and living history


Filmmaker revisits Williston’s past and living history

Green Mountain Video owner Jim Heltz shoots footage for his upcoming documentary ‘Williston Revisited: A Community Portrait’ at the July 3 Town Band concert and ice cream social. (Observer photo by Luke Baynes)
By Luke Baynes
Williston Observer staff
A lot has changed in Williston in the past 20 years.
Two decades ago, Maple Tree Place was farmland. Wal-Mart hadn’t been built. Allen Brook School didn’t exist.
In 1990, Williston had a population of less than 5,000. In 2010, it was more than 8,000.
Green Mountain Video owner Jim Heltz moved to Williston in 1990, just prior to its development boom and population explosion.
“When I moved to Williston, back in 1990, there was no supermarket, there was no pharmacy,” Heltz said. “You’d have to either go to Hinesburg or you’d have to go to Essex Junction or South Burlington to go to a supermarket or find a pharmacy.”
In 1991, Heltz began filming “Williston: A Community Portrait.” The resulting documentary, which packed two-plus centuries of Williston history into a 26-minute runtime, won awards from the Vermont Historical Society and American Association for State and Local History.
A few years ago, Heltz developed an itch to update the history of his adopted hometown.
“I wanted to show the change in Williston over the past 20 years,” he said. “When I found out that the town was having the anniversary of the chartering, I wanted to do the project again. It was time. There was a good 20 years between the first one and the one I want to do.”
Heltz, who is collaborating with local photographer and journalist Steve Mease on the film’s screenplay, said the updated documentary will examine the role technology plays in the modern-day conception of community.
“We do want to ask about the other sense of community, the electronic version of community, which is Facebook and Twitter and Williston Front Porch Forum,” Heltz said. “I think with some of the community it doesn’t really change anything for them, and for some others it really has a big impact.”
The town of Williston was chartered June 7, 1763—exactly 250 years prior to Heltz’s self-imposed deadline for “Williston Revisited: A Community Portrait.”
June 7, incidentally, is also the birthday of Ginger Isham, whom Heltz interviewed in the first installment of Williston’s filmic history. Heltz observed that the adaptation of the Isham family’s farming methods is emblematic of Williston’s evolution as a whole.
“Their story is very similar to Williston’s development, how they’ve changed in that 20 years,” Heltz said of the Isham Farm, which today produces maple syrup, corn, sunflowers and berry products. “In the last video, the Isham Farm was a dairy farm with Jersey cows. There’s one calf on the premises now. So they’ve diversified how they’re farming. It’s farming, but it’s not usually what you’d think of when you think of a Vermont farm.”
Like the Ishams, Heltz has adapted to changing times.
The first Williston community portrait was made for $10,000 on Betacam SP, then the industry standard for video production. The updated documentary, which has a projected budget of $20,000, will be filmed in widescreen high-definition digital.
Heltz will also largely dispense with voiceover narration in favor of on-camera interviews and visual montages set to music.
“One thing I would like is for Williston musicians, if they have some music that they think might be appropriate for this film, to send it to me,” Heltz said. “I’d be more than happy to put it in and give them a credit, because there are going to be certain sections where it would be great to have some local music.”
Heltz added that he’s open to feedback from any Willistonian, whether musically inclined or not.
“If you have some stories, let us know,” Heltz said. “We’d be happy to chat.”
Visit williston-revisited. blogspot.com for more information about “Williston Revisited: A Community Portrait,” or to make a donation toward its production costs.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fourth of July Festivities 2012



A look at Williston's July Fourth through the lens of Jim Heltz.

For photos from the day by Stephen Mease, click here.