You could call it a love letter to Colorado Springs.
And about the buildings, whether they are still standing and telling their story.
Ahead of the city’s 150th anniversary, Kate Perdoni, filmmaker and journalist at Rocky Mountain PBS, set out to tell this story, or as much as she could in 30 minutes.
Her documentary “Lost and Preserved in Colorado Springs” premieres Thursday on Rocky Mountain PBS and YouTube.
It’s not just a history lesson. Perdoni wanted to study how the city – as well as the collective values of its residents – have changed over time.
She said she needed “some kind of measuring stick”.
“So I decided to tell the story of the city, which is reflected in our built environment,” says Perdoni. “What did we build and when and why?”
She asked other questions: What have we chosen to keep or to tear down? What greater values do these decisions represent? What did we learn? What do we want to take with us?
And she had to work.
After months of research and discussions with local experts, Perdoni had written around 40 pages as a draft for the film. She had to reduce that to eight. Then it was time to film.
The newest installment in Rocky Mountain PBS’s “Colorado Experience” series, Lost and Preserved in Colorado Springs touches upon buildings like The Mining Exchange, the Pioneers Museum, and the City Auditorium, as well as the homes of influential residents and the Bandhell in Acacia Park. Each place offers decades of teaching.
“Any of these buildings or subjects that you could make an entire film about,” says Perdoni.
She was also impressed with stories about structures that are no longer here.
“When a building that you valued and cherished is demolished and you haven’t had a say, people really feel it,” she says. “You feel hurt.”
One example is the Burns Theater, which was once a monument of the arts and a staple downtown.
“It reflected the stature and economy of our earliest days as a community,” says Perdoni. “And it was torn down to make way for a parking lot.”
The reason for this could be a separate documentary.
“But ultimately it’s about money,” says Perdoni. “It’s about personal or private gain.”
And that can lead to good or bad change.
Perdoni hopes her documentary will make people think about how Colorado Springs started and where it’s going. Perdoni personally thought about “who was evicted so that we can be here now”.
She says the city’s 150th birthday is a good time to not just celebrate but have these conversations.
What is your most important finding from the project?
“We can do better.”