Happy 4th of July (weekend), everyone! This is the time for fireworks and barbecues, pool parties and reunions. But for those of you who think America is pretty cool, yet hate going outside to prove it, I recommend celebrating the final edits of the Declaration of Independence with The Amerikans, an ongoing series of short collaborative documentaries about the passions of ordinary Ohioans. Each episode, which is made with input from its subject and styled to fit its content, is three to five minutes long, and subjects include a funeral director who collects ties, an electrician who moonlights as a bee sting therapist, and a visual artist who is obsessed with cats.
This episode features Oberlin resident Danilo Vujacic, a young boy who dreams of flight in the birthplace of Neil Armstrong, John Glenn, and the Wright brothers. (Full disclosure: Danilo once shot me with a Star Wars blaster.)
For those of you who did manage to get some celebrating in, but now need to sober up for some awful reason, I also recommend crossing the Ohio River into my home state of West Virginia for Hollow (Google Chrome browser required). A beautiful interactive documentary in the vein of Welcome to Pine Point, Kickstarter-funded Hollow examines a dying community through the eyes of its residents and those trying to save it. The nation’s leading producer of coal in the 50s, McDowell County, WV, exploded to a population of nearly 100,000. Over the following decades, however, mechanization and competition from non-union mines and foreign steel would reduce that number to around 20,000, leaving the once booming county decimated by poverty and drugs. Sober yet?
If you don’t have Google Chrome, download it now. And while it installs, watch this preview:
Eric Jett is a writer, designer, and teacher from Charleston, WV. He is a founding editor of Full Stop.