by Kate Gellene
May 22nd, 2013

For the second straight year, AT&T will be sponsoring the Rooftop Films AT&T Feature Films Grant, which will be awarded to a Rooftop Films alumnus filmmaker to help them to produce their next feature film project. Thanks to AT&T’s generous support in 2012, the $10,000 grant was awarded to Bill and Turner Ross (Tchoupitoulas, 45365) for their latest documentary, currently in production in Texas. Rooftop screened the Ross brothers award-winning documentary 45365 in 2009.

Bill and Turner are hard at work finishing production on Western, a documentary portrait of the modern frontier. Augmented by the lives of a cross-section of residents in and around Eagle Pass, Texas, we will get a sense of the symbiosis inherent in a border community. The stories, experiences and daily trials of these people will provide a real glimpse at life along the U.S.-Mexico border.

We can’t wait to see how its coming along, so we recently caught up with them for a quick chat, and they offered us an update on what will certainly become an amazing film:

“Western embraces the myths and realities of our modern frontier through a generational portrait of its inhabitants. The images and archetypes and news stories that you expect will all be there – as will the truth.”

Rooftop Films: Can you tell us the progress of your project?

Bill & Turner Ross: This is gonna be a long one. At present, we’re two months into an edit that will likely take a year. We spent 13 months on location being very present. There’s a lot to do justice to.

RF: How is the Rooftop Films/AT&T Feature Film Grant helping you so far?

B&TR: We live on believers. The generous monies from Rooftop/AT&T have allowed Bill to devote his full attentions to the edit and lock in some line items in post.

RF: What has been the biggest challenge thus far?

B&TR: Decoding all of our Spanish language footage. We shot in south Texas and Mexico not knowing the language, just going off body language and circumstance. Editing through is proving slow due to the translation. Not everything is body language.

RF: Can you tell us when we can look forward to seeing a trailer, images, title, etc. ?

B&TR: We’ve named the film Western. We post scraps of stuff on our Facebook page every once in awhile, though we’re a long way off from a trailer. Would like to finish the film first. We’ll have a great campaign when the finish line approaches.


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Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.


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