In so many ways, this is the documentary, note-for-note, that I’d want to tell an American audience about world’s fairs: They do still exist, they’re still relevant, they still inspire, and for reasons that aren’t quite clear, the United States government has chosen to turn its back on them.
Ford weaves his own journeys visiting Zaragoza’s Expo 2008, Shanghai’s Expo 2010, and Yeosu’s Expo 2012 with interviews of some of the key players in the United States world’s fair scene: pavilion designers, pavilions organizers, government bureaucrats, and even my colleague Steve Heckler, who is working to organize a potential bid for Minneapolis-St. Paul.
There are some great visuals in the film and I particularly enjoyed seeing the footage of various 20th and 21st Century world’s fairs. There’s also a fantastic juxtaposition between how the United States and the United Kingdom approached the challenge of creating a compelling pavilion at Expo 2010.
The film premiered at the Cape Fear Film Festival and won the title of “best documentary.” The filmmakers are currently looking for distribution. It’s my hope that as many Americans see this as possible: particularly those in government who can witness for themselves the importance of participation.
We owe the next generation of Americans a source of inspiration: to learn, to dream, and to then build those dreams. To Mr. Ford, world’s fairs can be just that source of inspiration and pride.