We Are Monticello

Video Portrait of Monticello Shows Town’s Strong Bonds

Depot in Monticello

Depot in Monticello

Brian Fulton said he gained a new realization of the strong bonds in his community after hearing residents of his hometown brainstorm ideas for Illinois Public Media’s We Are … Monticello video project.

“I think it taught me that a lot of people really love our community and there are many reasons to love our community,” he said. Fulton jumped in enthusiastically to participate in the project, using the video camera he’d previously used to film his kids soccer games.

The work of the volunteer storytellers and videographers, who were all Monticello residents, culminated in a video portrait of the town, edited together by Illinois Public Media. The program will air on WILL-TV at 7 pm Thursday, Dec. 5.

About 40 of the 75 Monticello volunteers for the project gathered in the Monticello High School library on Nov. 21 to get a sneak preview of the one-hour program. “I loved it. I was amazed,” Fulton said. “When we sat down in September and discussed ideas for the show, I questioned how it would come together and if the quality was going to be there. I was so impressed with the quality and particularly the quantity of the work we did.”

Fulton shot video for a story about Allerton Park volunteers as well as stories about neighborhoods in Monticello and an effort at White Heath Elementary School to raise funds for the family of a second grader with leukemia.

Using a video camera she borrowed from WILL-TV, first-time videographer Julie Glawe shot footage from the top of a grain elevator and from the air after she talked a pilot into taking her up in a plane to film farm fields from the air for a story on area agriculture. “I loved it!,” she said. “I totally got into capturing a story on camera.”

The program is the first in a series of programs WILL-TV hopes to produce about towns in central Illinois using video shot by residents, said Kimberlie Kranich, community content and engagement director for Illinois Public Media. “People who live in a town are the best people to tell a community’s story,” she said. “Every town has great stories. We want to help people in more towns capture those stories.”

Other stories among the 21 in the video include the Monticello High School marching band and the school’s Sages mascot, and Callie McFarland’s portrait of downtown businesses including Filippo’s Pizza and Italian Food, The Steeple Gallery, and Jordan’s Barber Shop. “If I ever want to hear what other people are talking about, I go to Barber Bruce,” said McFarland, director of community development for the City of Monticello.

Watch a preview: