NORTH SMITHFIELD – North Smithfield officials recognized a filmmaker this week who has not only preserved a large piece of town history, but has brought the story to an international audience.
Town Administrator Paul Zwolenski and members of the North Smithfield Town Council presented a citation to Christian de Rezendes is recognition of completion of Season 1 of Slatersville, America’s First Mill Village. The first five episodes of the docu-series premiered on Rhode Island PBS this fall.
“The entire community takes pride in the effort and dedication that is behind such an accomplishment by one of its citizens,” notes the acknowledgement, presented to de Rezendes at the council’s meeting on Monday, Nov. 21.
“It’s one of the top shows on local PBS. Let me tell you, it’s fantastic,” said Town Council President John Beauregard. “Very impressive job. It’s a credit to you and your abilities and it’s also a credit to the town. We should be very proud that you went through this and we’re on the map.”
de Rezendes noted that the series, the product of nearly a decade of work, has been well received by audiences. Slatersville was the third most streamed show on Rhode Island PBS when it aired in September and October. Produced through his town-based company, Breaking Branches Pictures, the series will have six more episodes – tentatively scheduled for release in fall of 2023.
“I’m working on Season 2 right now,” he said.
Season 1 can be viewed anytime on demand by visiting ripbs.org.
“It’s amazing on how rich the history is in this town,” Beauregard said. “It’s things I never knew about.”
This month, de Rezendes began selling his first piece of series-related merchandise, a Christmas ornament produced by ChemArt in Lincoln. To his surprise, the number of out-of-state orders has exceeded the in-state orders.
“This means that people in California, Michigan, Kentucky, Iowa and especially Florida want the Slatersville logo to be displayed in their homes on their Christmas trees,” he noted.
The director still has ornaments available for purchase and is willing to deliver locally for $25. For those out-of-state, the ornament can be purchased for $30 at https://www.firstmillvillage.com/.
Well deserved recognition for Mr. de Rezendes. His historical documentary on Slatersville was incredibly well researched, and expertly produced. Excellent storytelling! Quite fascinating to get insight into the elements that shaped the development of this community. Looking forward to the coming episodes.