This summer, Ryan Mulligan, a professor and filmmaker; Sam Meador, a local artist; The Gallery Project
; Cincinnati creatives; and citizens of Walnut Hills created 10 short films about the people of the neighborhood. The films will be shown at 9 p.m. on Aug. 15 during the final Walk on Woodburn
of the summer.
“Walnut Hills is my home, and I love the neighborhood,” Mulligan says. “When Annie Bolling asked me to do a project in her new community-centered art space on Woodburn, I jumped at the opportunity.”
The films, called Hilltop Stories
, include documentary-style shorts, a silent comedy, a music video and a historical recreation of a couple’s first date and their lives together. Hilltop Stories was made entirely on a volunteer basis, with a grant from FUEL Cincinnati
covering the advertising and equipment costs for the screening.
A Bollywood-style music video is in honor of Courttney Cooper, a Kroger employee who loves music. He can be seen dancing around the store, and brings music to everyone around him, Mulligan says.
Roy and Dee Green have lived in Walnut Hills for more than 50 years, and their love story inspired one of the films. Local teen actors played the Greens, and the film was shot on location in the neighborhood as the actors re-created the couple’s first date, courtship, marriage, and trials and tribulations.
Walk on Woodburn will include a beer garden and food trucks from 6 to 9 p.m., with the films shown afterward for free on a giant 20-foot inflatable screen in the parking lot of 2800 Woodburn.
Mulligan says he’s only scratched the surface of the stories in Walnut Hills. During filming, he met a family with a large fence behind their house who have never met their neighbors. Next year, Mulligan is helping host the first ever Backyard Fence Volleyball League, in which the winner cooks dinner. Each block can form a team, and the match and meal will be filmed.
“I’m not a filmmaker,” Mulligan says. “I’m just a guy who believes in neighborhoods, and a professor who believes in art for social change.”
Next year, Mulligan hopes to take a backseat and help others who want to get behind the camera, but he definitely wants to see Hilltop Stories continue in Walnut Hills and beyond.