From: patrick rippman <email@example.com>
Sent: Monday, October 5, 2020 2:20:31 PM
To: Melanie Hammet <MelanieHammet@pinelakega.net>
Subject: Welcome To Pine Lake - Possible Response Video
Good Afternoon Melanie,
My name is Patrick Rippman. My girlfriend and I moved into 475 Spruce Dr. coming up on about two years ago now. I'm a videographer, and have made short films and documentaries about places I've lived in the past, such as my documentary about the effects of Hurricane Matthew in Savannah GA. I've thrown out the idea in the past of considering a short doc about Pine Lake when posting an album of photos I took around the berm. However, it appears someone beat me to it with an unfortunate spin.
Without having seen the 'Welcome to Pine Lake' yet as it is not out, I can't honestly take a stance for or against any of the points made in the film. However I'm sure you're no stranger to the negative response the trailer has garnered from many in our community. So I personally reached out to the director, Elisa, to ask her if she had any input or defense in response to those in Pine Lake that feel wronged by her documentary, as well as asked if it'd be possible to get an early viewing of the film (no response yet).
Until I'm able to form an actual opinion from viewing the doc, and am able to see if there are even any points in her work that deserve refuting, everything I'm going to state from this point on is purely hypothetical. I have honed my talents over the last 20 years behind the camera and editing suite for clear but emotionally effective story telling that I think would serve our community well in a situation that calls for a well thought out response, one that may benefit from depth and pacing to allow the breathing room necessary for emotional weight that would be lost in a straight forward interview or article.
I would like you to consider my pitch for Pine Lake to create our own video, preferably 3-5 minutes that would serve not only as a response video, refuting or clarifying what Elisa's documentary may conveniently skip over or leave out, but also serve to educate and tell our story in a style that would hook viewers attention and raise interest. I have the resources to independently produce a high quality professional production and I would do so for free, as it'd be a passion project for me. I'd prefer my property value not decrease due to an undeserved smear campaign, or for a misguided spot light to encourage protests to leak into our city. Not to mention, the exposure alone from directing the response to a documentary that will likely garner quite an audience is reason enough for me to consider such a project.
Again, I am careful about what I attach my name to, and I don't have any interest in defending any person or organization during these polarized race conflicts in our country just because criticism has been made. And I would bet we have that in common. The mere existence of such a response video greatly depends on its necessity. Even more importantly is that it must be carefully put together not to point the finger another direction, but to simply highlight the larger picture if Elisa's film failed to do so. If her documentary tells a well rounded story, and is not the sensationalized one-sided race bait production a lot of Pine Lake residents are fearing it to be, then I have no interest in producing a video refuting any points made. As a matter of fact, I'd very much be against attaching my name to anything that seems like it's taking a side, especially one against the BLM movement. Love over hate, community over divisiveness.
This is why I'm reaching out to you directly instead of posting this idea on the Facebook threads. A lot of people don't take criticism well, and may feel it's a good idea to respond no matter the final product of Elisa's work, and many peoples' responses may be a bit more defensive than helpful. So instead of riling up the community and letting this be led via group mentality, I'd like to approach it subtly, thoughtfully. So to conclude, if it seems it'd be wise to create our own production in response to 'Welcome to Pine Lake', I'd just like you to know that I'm here, and would be glad to serve as a tool in your arsenal against the fight for public opinion.
I appreciate your well-considered email. Very much.
Pine Lake is a place that is deceptively complex: layers of strange and interesting history have made it an unusual urban pocket. Imperfect; community-minded; peculiar; a bit grouchy at times; frequently hilarious; always working to improve in every way. I’ve lived here 21 years and that’s my take.
The feedback I’ve gotten from more than a half dozen folks who’ve seen the Gambino film for a variety of reasons is that it’s a poorly told, unbalanced story that simply doesn’t add up—and it’s boring (although beautiful to look at).
Let’s chat by the lake once the dust settles.
Thank you, sir.
Mayor, City Of Pine Lake GA
“Arts’ Natural Habitat”
> On Oct 5, 2020, at 10:27 AM, patrick rippman <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Hello Elisa,
> My name is Patrick Rippman. I ran into you outside the courthouse during the filming of your doc. As I’m sure you’re aware, upon releasing the trailer for your documentary, a lot of residents in Pine Lake have been quite upset about it, and all I know without seeing the doc myself yet is what I read in our Facebook groups from those involved, which has essentially become anti-doc echo chambers.
> Another resident, Barbara Whitlow, mentioned receiving an eye opening response shedding light on the other side directly from you. I asked if she could share it, as I’d like a better more well rounded view in the echo chamber, but she instead just told me to contact you. So I was hoping you might be able to provide me your response to these residents that are against the film from what they know so far, and if it’d be possible to get an early viewing of the film as a pine lake resident?
> Thanks for your time!
> -Patrick Rippman
On Monday, October 5, 2020, 03:32:19 PM EDT, One Production Place <email@example.com> wrote:
Thank you for reaching out! I clearly remember meeting you as I was surprised to see a non POC appear at the courthouse. Alas, you were not there for any infractions. I remember you telling me that you work in video production too.
It is unfortunate that the trailer, combined with the mayor’s email to the city which my daughter said was posted on several PL pages, caused residents to be upset. Maybe folks don’t understand the purpose of trailers but the mayor’s missive left nothing in doubt about her feelings about a film she has not seen nor asked to see in its final version. A version which is without her music because she asked me to remove it after the last time she would speak to me on May 4.
I am not in a position to show the film before its premiere which should take place on Sunday. The film will stream across several platforms and we have already had one delay and I cannot say for certain it will stream this Sunday but that is the plan as I write this.
My daughter screen grabs all FB comments that reference me and the film, she does this across all PL FB pages and those who contribute to the discussions on their personal non-private pages or those pages of people who are my “friends” on FB. I have not read them and for now, will let them remain on some server in Silicone Valley, far from my conscience. As I have not read the FB pages, I am not sure exactly what concerns you would like me to address. If you have specific questions, please let me know and I will do my best to answer.
On Oct 5, 2020, at 4:49 PM, patrick rippman <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Thanks for your prompt response. I personally tend to hold any judgement until I have a well rounded understanding, and without viewing the documentary, I truly don't harbor any opinion one way or another. I would assume from your POC comment, that you likely hold the view that our court process is unfairly racially bias, and in turn assume that is likely a theme echoed throughout your work covering PL.
I can assure you right off the bat, you've done more homework than I on this subject just in building this documentary, so I wont pretend to enlighten you with any new information. I don't believe I've ever even been in the courthouse before during my 2 years living in Pine Lake. However, having said that I am also aware that the surrounding areas of Pine Lake are predominately populated with POC, thus it wouldn't be too surprising to me to find out many of those that have had run-ins with the PLPD patrolling Rockbridge Rd. (as I myself have had in the past for going the wrong way down Spruce Dr.) and in turn have appointments at the Pine Lake courthouse are POC. Statistically that makes sense, but again I haven't personally researched this, so I don't know if there is unfair racial bias or anything more nefarious at play here. Though it sounds like I'm going to learn much more regarding your view on all of this soon enough, and am genuinely interested to understand any possible issues that may exist on this topic.
As for the general negative response of many PL residents toward your documentary, from what I gather consists of a few issues. One of the main ones I've see popping up more than others is the idea that they were dishonestly mislead by you and your team regarding the purpose and main narrative of your documentary. Many people here said you told them the film was about our female leadership. When I asked you myself what your documentary was about outside of the courthouse on June 4th, you told me it was primarily focusing on the first all female run city in our country, or something along those lines. So I would assume you still hadn't changed your narrative up to that date? As a videographer, I understand how a story can transform and unfold to become something different than when you started it, and any journalist worth their salt follows the story instead of just telling it.
Though in my opinion, it comes down to when you decided to change your narrative, how you conducted your communication and decisions on what footage was used with the residents involved from that point forward. As you can imagine, some people may be wary when the project they and their kids are showcased in has taken a turn towards the more divisive and sensational topic of race relations in this country, at a time when things are so polarized. I think a lot of people are just worried how they or their family's image is going to be used as they may have likely never agreed to be a part of a production covering such a divisive topic, especially at at such a volatile time. Again, without seeing the documentary, it's hard for me to make any assumptions or judgements. However, I hope you can understand the concerns of those who are now involved in such a project, can only hope the director who holds all the footage to use as she pleases does so with moral ethics in mind that one would expect from a life long journalist for networks such as CNN.
Some posts suggest the idea that the narrative may have been shifted due to external affects such as the BLM movement unfolding during production, more so than due to internal revelations: what may have been uncovered about the city while producing the documentary inside the city. In these posts, some suggest you may have decided to use Pine Lake as a catalyst for racial tensions in the surrounding communities, simply because it was what you already had in your arsenal at a time when a documentary about race would reach further than one about gender.
I don't know if Pine Lake has skeletons in the closet in this day and age, but I am interested to learn about them if so, and would hope we're already working on bettering ourselves if so. If we are currently working towards doing better, then I hope that comes through in your work as well. I never rustled the feathers of an entire town myself, so I totally understand turning the volume down to the criticism at the moment as it may be overwhelming, or even misplaced considering the documentary hasn't even released yet. However, I only stated the criticism in the two paragraphs above not to personally attack you, but to truncate down what I've read so far so you can respond if you'd like.
If you are ok with me doing so, I was hoping to share our thread in this E-mail on the PL group pages once you've responded. I don't think it's ever healthy to have an echo chamber, where preacher and choir are the same. So I'd love to share you rebuttal to the issues I've listed above to introduce the other side to this story.
Thanks for you time.
Thank you for taking the time to send along these concerns. There are far too many misinformed ideas in this email to address in an email so my response is that folks should watch the film since it looks like no one who is upset has seen it. I will make the streaming info public when I have confirmation of the date.
Please don’t share any part of this/my correspondence with anyone and thank you for asking.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.