A new documentary film, North Pole, NY is set to premier at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts (LPCA), 17 Algonquin Drive, on Saturday, June 23 at 7 pm. A Q & A with Director Ali Cotterill and Producer Christa Orth will follow.
North Pole, NY is a revealing look at the battle for survival of one of the first theme parks in the U.S., Santa’s Workshop, in Wilmington. The film examines the park’s legacy, the dedicated staff and loyal residents, and its struggles to survive in the larger context of the decline of the American roadside attraction.
The film follows the development of Santa’s Workshop, founded in 1949 by Julian Reiss, who was inspired by the beauty of the Adirondacks to build “Santa’s summer home.” In the 1950s, following national media attention, Santa’s Workshop becomes a cultural fixture as families and tourists flocked to visit.
According to a description of the film provided to the press: “When a would-be businessman proposes what looks like a life-saving deal to save Santa’s Workshop, the heritage and the spirit of the historic theme park is jeopardized. Santa’s Workshop becomes a casualty of a power struggle between an opportunistic businessman and the owner. With help from local residents and town council, the community rallies around Santa’s Workshop to restore the park to its greatness.
“Through it all, Santa’s Workshop remains a place where past and current staff, and generations of families remember simpler times, irony-free kitsch, and the celebration of imagination. For over 65 years, Santa’s Workshop, which has its own zip code as North Pole, NY, has served as an economic driver of the small community of Wilmington, New York.”
Ali Cotterill is an independent filmmaker based in Brooklyn, New York. Her shorts have screened at 100+ festivals around the world, won several awards, and been broadcast on Logo TV and Current TV. She also works as an editor, notably on the documentary feature UNITED IN ANGER: A HISTORY OF ACT UP, which had its premiere at MOMA’s Documentary Fortnight (World) and Hot Docs (Canadian) and won Best Documentary at the Milan and Pittsburgh LGBT film festivals. NORTH POLE, NY, is her first feature. She was one of the six filmmakers selected for the DCTV 2016 Work-in-Progress Lab.