Documentary about life in Rich Hill on track
"There are people there who don't have enough and are living in poverty." -- Tracy Droz Tragos
"We've talked with the town elders and some of the adolescents who hang out at the park most every afternoon," she said from her home in Pacific Palisades, Calif. "We have met city council members and Andrew has ridden with Police Chief Clinton Leer.
"People are getting used to us. It's not quite such a shock to see us on a street corner, so people are not slowing down and doing a U-turn. When anybody sees a camera, they think they will instantly be broadcast on TV and that's not the case.
"We're not American Idol."
She said the project slowed early this year while she and Droz Palermo awaited the delivery of a Red Co. Scarlet X high resolution camera, which they used in their last visit.
"It has been eye-opening to see some of the struggles people are facing, when we got to know them and came inside their homes," said Droz Tragos, whose cousin, Jeff Droz, is chairman of the Rich Hill Vision Committee.
"There are people there who don't have enough and are living in poverty."
She plans another half-dozen trips and is using the working title of "Rich Hill," although that could change before the documentary is released next year. The town is 20 miles north of Nevada.
Working closely with the filmmaker, Rich Hill auctioneer Larry Hacker said last week that she and her crew recently spent several days at local schools and the Missouri Youth Services Division-affiliated Rich Hill Youth Development Center, "filming and trying to assemble plenty of things to take back with them.
"They said they would be back before school is out," Hacker said.
Hacker has reported giving Droz Tragos' Dinky Productions Co. DVDs of films made there between 1951 and '53, showing "the parades, marching bands and old businesses with the proprietors at the front doors."
Her hour-long Emmy Award-winning film, "Be Good, Smile Pretty," was released in 2003 and was about her father, Lt. Donald Glen Droz, a Naval Academy graduate who died in Vietnam in 1969 when she was 3 months old.
Growing up in Oakland, Calif., with her mom and step-dad, she often stayed with grandparents Glen and Dorothy Droz in Rich Hill in the 1970s and '80s. Her uncle and aunt, Paul and Peggy Droz, and relatives Julie Droz, Frank and Francine Droz and the Rapp and Jennings families still live there.
"I was catching grasshoppers, fishing and learning to drive," she has previously reminisced. "The downtown was full of life and businesses. I loved the taste of the funny water and the lights at Christmas. I couldn't wait for the Fourth of July when I got to ride in the fire truck and do all the stuff I couldn't do in the city."
Droz Tragos' husband Chris owns an Internet advertising company. They have two daughters, 3 and 6.
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