Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

April 25, 2013

Filmmakers explore what has happened to World’s Fair in documentary

IRONTON — Generations of Americans and the world were awed by innovations and technology showcased at the World’s Fair during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The expositions drew millions of visitors, inspiring inventions that changed the course of history.

Then the fairs disappeared from the cultural landscape of the United States.

Or did they?

That’s the question a new feature-length documentary, “Where’s the Fair?”, created by two local filmmakers Jeffrey Ford and Brad Bear explores.

The film will premier in a private screening this weekend at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati. Produced and directed by the friends, it was only completed three weeks ago after nearly five years of work, which took the pair around the world to seven countries and more than 36 cities.

It all stared when Ford picked up a View-Master with old photos of the World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tenn., which hosted the 1984 event. Curious about where they disappeared to, he began searching for an answer.

It turns out there wasn’t a good one — at least not on Google.  

Together, Bear and Ford began looking for one.  

Ford directed and wrote the film, which Bear edited and produced. “Where’s the Fair?” is described as the “unraveling of a great American tragedy.

“It is the story of the loss of not only the world’s greatest celebration of culture, art, and science, but also of American exceptionalism, and perhaps even the American dream. It is a global quest for truth against a backdrop of secrecy, corruption, and political entanglement. It is the surprising answer that you find when you ask... ‘Where’s the Fair?,’” according to the film’s website, wheresthefair.com

The film begins at the 2008 World Expo in Zaragoza Spain, then follows the history of World’s Fairs, also called World Expositions or Universal Exhibitions, before delving into the United States’ not so graceful exit from them at the turn of the 21st century. It also visits the most recent World’s Fair in South Korea and looks forward to the 2015 event slated for Milan, Italy.

But the film explores a much deeper question, according to its creators.

“The idea of the film, what we really bring into question, is have we stopped dreaming? How much power do we as individuals have. It’s kind of surprising,” said Bear. “It’s about what the World’s Fair allows other people to do because it inspires. That’s the heart of the film.

“We hope, at the end of the day, it starts the conversation with Americans to kind of look up.

“And outside of the World’s Fair, maybe it’s time we get more involved. That we do become overtly concerned and involved with how we are perceived in the world and realize that all of these things that happen, that you read about in the newspaper and see on the news, that there is no real disconnect there,” Bear said.

“We have kind of been lulled into sleep. We’ve allowed our jobs to be exported and allowed ourselves to rest on our laurels. We think we’re at the top and it’s someone else’s job to stay at the top... but, in reality, it’s our job to remain great as a country and keep dreaming bigger and doing better things.”

When the broader public will get to see the film, however, is still undetermined.

Saturday’s screening is invitation only, so the film can maintain its premiere status as it makes its way through the film festival circuit.

 Distribution of the film on a large scale, according to Bear, is still in the works and is the “learning curve” part of the project for the pair. They are in discussions with two major broadcast companies regarding the film, he said.

“Where’s the Fair?” was recently nominated for the Best Feature and Best Documentary film at the 2013 Cape Fear Independent Film Festival in Wilmington, N.C. The festival will take place in May.  

To learn more about the film, watch movie trailers and to follow its progress, visit: www.wheresthefair.com or like Where’s the Fair? on Facebook.

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at (606) 326-2653 or by email at cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com

Text Only
Local News
  • RONNIE ELLIS: Fancy Farm only days away

    We’re just days away from the annual Fancy Farm Picnic and political free-for-all which used to be the “official” beginning of fall campaigns in Kentucky.

    July 25, 2014

  • 07/25/2014 — This Week in the Tri-State

    Local news

    July 25, 2014

  • Golden Corral sends children to camp

    Ashland’s Golden Corral teamed with other restaurants across nation this year to raise $1.5 million to send a total of 3,000 children to Camp Corral.

    July 24, 2014

  • Burglars steal golf gear

    A couple of golf enthusiasts might not make their tee times Saturday because burglars stole golf equipment from their garages.

    July 24, 2014

  • Music instructor claims age discrimination

    The Russell Independent School District is denying allegations of a former band director who claims in a lawsuit the district discriminated against him because of his age.

    July 24, 2014

  • Financial blunder leads to heated board discussion

    In a surprising turn of events, City Manager Ben Bitter’s supervision authority was challenged by the Board of Commissioners after Commissioner Cheryl Spriggs filed a motion to have legal and finance department heads also report to the board in light of a financial blunder by Bitter.
    Ashland Mayor Chuck Charles and City Attorney Richard “Sonny” Martin confirmed a new ordinance will be drafted so the department heads of finance and legal counsel will be checked by the board, in addition to Bitter’s current oversight.

    July 24, 2014

  • Stricter enforcement, diagonal spots endorsed to help downtown

    A group of business owners operating along Winchester Avenue — Ashland’s main thoroughfare — asked the Ashland Board of Commissioners to replace current parallel parking spots with diagonal ones, and also for more strick enforcement of a two-hour parking law.

    July 24, 2014

  • National act takes stage at Boyd County Fair

    The Building of Dreams erupted into screams Thursday night at the 2014 Boyd County Fair, as country music fans saw Bucky Covington take the stage.
    According to Ellen Keaton, fair board president, Covington was a favorite on season five of Fox’s talent competition series American Idol.

    July 24, 2014

  • Smoke-free advocates bound for Ashland

    Advocates for smoke-free public spaces are touring the state, starting in Ashland, to drum up support for anti-tobacco legislation they hope to pass next year.
    Smoke-Free Kentucky is a coalition of organizations and people who support a ban on smoking in all public and work places in Kentucky.

    July 24, 2014

  • Ohio State Band Direc_Mayn.jpg Ohio State marching band chief fired after probe

    Ohio State University fired the director of its celebrated marching band on Thursday after determining he ignored a "sexualized" culture of rituals including students being pressured to march in their underwear and participate in sexually themed stunts.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo