Alice Butler has always known there is something special about the town of Roseboro. Thanks to the efforts of film students from Duke University, others will have the chance to see what Butler says she has always known.
Students, under the direction of filmmaker Randolph Benson, have been making frequent visits to the western Sampson County town, trying to capture all the unique aspects. These students are currently taking a course, Anytown, USA, that is a part of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.
The documentaries will be shown May 14 in downtown Roseboro, on Railroad Street. Gates open at 7:30 p.m. and the show will begin at dark, about 8 p.m. In the event of inclement weather, the movies will be shown in the Roseboro-Salemburg Middle School gym.
“We are really excited about this event,” Butler said. “I have always known Roseboro is a special town and I think the ‘secret’ is finally getting out. The STEP grant gave us many opportunities and this is just one more way that being a STEP town has helped us.”
According to Butler, Benson and Art Jackson with the N.C. Rural Center, paid a visit to Roseboro at the beginning of March and met with the mayor, STEP chairperson Lynn West and former mayor Rolland Hall. During that visit, Benson and Jackson had the opportunity to meet many citizens of Roseboro and experience the many things that draw people to the area.
Butler and West visited with the students in class on March 14 and further discussed some of the possible topics for the documentaries, but students had the option to explore and discover more than what Butler and West presented.
“The students were anxious to get started and many started reaching out to our citizens immediately and began visiting our town,” Butler said. “Sometimes they came individually and sometimes they came in groups.”
Patrick Nichols, a student who is covering the Highway 24 bypass around Roseboro, came into town Friday afternoon with the hopes of finishing up filming by taking some last-minute shots.
“Filming has gone really well so far,” Nichols said. “Everyone has been really accommodating and friendly, even people who aren’t directly involved in my project. Several times I’ve been walking around town with a camera and people have stopped to chat with me and to ask me about my project. I’ve really enjoyed getting the chance to know the town and meeting the people who live there.”
Nichols said he has been overly impressed with the deep roots and helpful nature of the citizens in Roseboro.
“Many of the people I’ve talked to have lived in Roseboro almost their entire lives and have connections to the area that go back generations,” Nichols shared. “The people living in Roseboro care about it and are willing to work hard to ensure that Roseboro thrives.”
As for the documentary Nichols is working to complete, he says Roseboro’s future is definitely a component of his projects. The changes to N.C. 24, he added, bring some uncertainty, but the residents of the town have all intentions of making sure the new highway is as beneficial as possible.
“With a lot of infrastructure already in place, and with increased access to places like Fayetteville, I think there is definitely and opportunity for the population of Roseboro to grow in the coming years,” Nichols added.
Guests are asked to bring blankets and chairs to sit on and refreshments will be available.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.