Filmmaker: Rob Connolly, USC
Three generations of my family before me have been involved in manufacturing operations in and around rural Mount Airy, North Carolina where we filmed Our Neck of the Woods. Considering the region and our history, it is not surprising that my own first job was in a factory at sixteen years old. I immediately became fascinated by the stories of my co-workers there and by their ability to cope with each monotonous workday for an entire lifetime. These men and women each had their individual dreams and aspirations, though for various reasons, many of the workers - much like the hero of our story, Bob Underwood - regarded them as mere fantasy.
In recent years, I have seen drastic changes in the face of my hometown, and many like it, as most of the manufacturing plants have closed their doors. The Spencer's Knitting Factory, where we filmed Our Neck of the Woods, made children's clothes for over a hundred years before shutting down. Many former employees of the factory came out to work as extras during the filming for a chance to see it up and running again. It is a time of great uncertainty in places like this across the country, but also a time of new opportunities as we realize that it is not the industry that defines these towns but rather the people who reside in them.