Dayton ReInvention Stories – Using Radio, Film and Web to tell stories about starting over…

Reinvention StoriesDayton’s own Academy Award nominated, Emmy winning filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar announce the launch of REINVENTION STORIES – a multiplatform documentary project which tells stories of Daytonians who have started over in their lives.

A groundbreaking interactive documentary, created solely for the internet, will launch on February 26, 2013, at  This immersive interactive experience, a collaboration with WYSO 91.3 FM, will introduce stories, photos, events, neighborhoods and people from throughout the Miami Valley, in an engaging form.

“Creating an interactive documentary has been a wild ride,” notes Julia Reichert.  “We’re doing something brand new, by creating a nonfiction film experience specifically for the web.  It’s been scary and fun and we’ve learned a ton. There are very few documentary projects in the world that have been created in this new form.  There’s not even word for it – we’re calling it a “transmedia”  documentary.”

The Sundance Institute recently awarded ReInvention Stories a production grant, to help with programming the complex web site.  “We’re so honored that this local project is getting such national attention,” notes WYSO General Manager Neenah Ellis, who launched the project by urging Reichert and Bognar to apply for a national competition.

ReInvention Stories one of only ten projects to win a major grant from AIR, the Association of Independents in Radio, a national organization of radio producers based in Boston.  Other cities to receive the grants include Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin and San Francisco.  “Dayton is one of only two small cities to receive this big project funding .  We’re proud to have been so competitive on a national scale,” adds Steven Bognar.

A series of radio stories based on the project interviews began airing weekly on WYSO on Wednesdays during Morning Edition.  Each radio story is accompanied by a short film on the WYSO website,  There have been film and radio stories of the Fifth Street Brewpub in St Anne’s Hill, Pat Reed of Angie’s Firehouse Tavern in Belmont,  former GM worker Debbie Bradley of Fairborn who is now a Registered Nurse, Oronde Clarke of South Park, Kevin Rotramel of Truth and Triumph Tattoo in Belmont, among others (see all videos below).  Upcoming is Kim Cottrell, creator of Olive and Brenda DeWinter of South Park, and many more.

A team of producers, including WYSO staff, alumni of Wright State University’s award winning film program, and WYSO’s Community Voices radio training program, hit the streets last summer, walking neighborhoods, collecting stories.  “We wanted to get out of our comfort zones,” explains Julia Reichert.  “We didn’t want to interview people who we already knew, or even use the usual journalistic sources.  So we trusted to luck and fate, and we met amazing people from all over town.”

The team focused on four Dayton neighborhoods, Twin Towers, Residence Park, South Park and Belmont, but also covered dozens of events and reinvention stories from Fairborn, St. Anne’s Hill, Clayton, East Dayton and Kettering, among others.

The transmedia documentary will launch in three parts, following the structure of the interview questions the team posed:  Who was I?  What happened?  Who am I trying to become?

Act 1 of the stories will launch on February 26, Act 2 on March 19 and Act 3 on April 9th at  and can also be found at the WYSO website:

ReInvention Stories is part of a national initiative of AIR, the Association of Independents in Radio, Inc and with financial support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting , The Wyncote Foundation, the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Regional funders include Chicken and Egg Pictures, The Ohio Arts Council, The Yellow Springs Community Foundation and Wright State University’s Center for Collaboration and Leadership in the Arts (CELIA).

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