Monday, May 05, 2008

Durham in a Nutshell

It was a real treat to sit by movie writer/director Ron Shelton at the Annual Tribute Luncheon, which this year honored the film-making family for Bull Durham.

It is very down to earth and epitomizes his writing--smart, witty, unpretentious.

Maybe that’s why he was able to capture the essence of Durham. Part of the community’s brand is that its “top 10” rankings don’t go to its head. It is as unpretentious a community as others are “over-reaching.”

But no one captured it better than producer and Durham native Thom Mount:
"Ron captured, most beautifully I thought, the kind of spirit of Durham, which in those days was very much the kind of black sheep of North Carolina cities, a city where the tobacco industry and the cotton industry were fading, a city which had had a very tough civil rights struggle, and a kind of disastrously miscalculated urban renewal program and a number of things that didn’t serve the city very well.

"And yet despite all that, in that Durham at that day, you could sit on a picnic bench at Kings Sandwich Shop, with men and women of color, men and women of different classes and occupations, and you could have a barbeque sandwich and a hotdog and talk about life, and in that moment on that picnic bench, there was something that annealed the better qualities of the human spirit, and it existed in Durham, and Ron was able to find it in the movie. I was incredibly proud of that."

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