Downtown Peabody to be featured in documentary

A photography session will begin Sunday afternoon in Peabody for a documentary called "Small Town USA: The Race to Renovate Rural America."

The documentary will be produced by IMG Pictures in Wichita and will cover efforts to revitalize rural communities in Kansas amid the migration trend of small town citizens to larger metropolitan areas.

Downtown Peabody will be the backdrop for the advertising and promotional material for the film as well as the home page for the film's web site.

A group from IMG Pictures was in Peabody July 4 taking pictures downtown. Duke Eldridge introduced himself to the visitors and learned of the documentary project.

"They said they had looked at several towns," Eldridge said. "They were interested in Peabody and what had been done with the downtown."

Eldridge encouraged them to get in touch with Main Street interim director Shane Marler and also passed on their contact information to the Main Street office.

The film company will be using four or five local families to shoot the necessary pictures for their film. The pictures and videos will be taken between 4 and 6 p.m.

The filmmakers hope to raise awareness of workable revitalization strategies among small town leaders while showcasing the values and variety of lifestyles associated with small-town living.

"The primary audience for this film will be individuals and business owners who have . . . an interest in the advantages of small town living," said IMG Pictures director Wynn Ponder.

"We intend to promote the benefits of the small town lifestyle to potential residents and companies, both inside and outside the state of Kansas.

"These key audiences will have a much greater likelihood of paying attention to a film message than an unsolicited advertising message, which is what most towns are currently using with little success," Ponder said.

While the documentary will not feature Peabody's historic designation or Main Street program, the impact of both are instrumental in creating a picturesque background to show off the best of small town living.