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Film follows a script written just for Rochester

Film follows a script written just for Rochester

Is it a documentary? Is it satire?

I had many questions after watching Tyler Aug’s latest video project, released earlier today through a Facebook watch party.

As the film pans and zooms across the local landscape, the narrator — whose voice resembles a Mad Men-era radioman — describes a Rochester famous for its medical center. The people of Rochester, the narrator says, “have pioneered many of the medical miracles of our time.”

For 13 minutes, the mini documentary dives into the key local issues, offering an uplifting and, at times, satirical look at our quality city. There are references to the “heart of the city” and the need for parking.

“Rochester has made its peace with the automobile,” the narrator says. “Is it practical to do otherwise?”

By keeping the narration and video running parallel, it sounds as if the script was written for modern day Med City by a proud community elder.

“A tradition of fine craftsmanship developed here, attracting quality industries and quality people alike,” the narrator says.

Of course, I could not watch the video without wanting to peek behind the curtain. Tyler is a good friend of Med City Beat. You have probably seen some of his past work published on this site.

As Aug explained, the audio is actually as old as it sounds. But the narrator is not describing our Rochester, but the other Rochester (New York).

He stumbled across the recordings while working on a separate project. In the archives, there existed a two-part documentary, commissioned by the lesser of the two Rochester’s gas and electric company.

The films Aug pulled the audio from date back to, get this — 1963.

“There were way too many similarities to what’s going on here,” Aug said of the Rochester we know and the one described in New York 56 years ago.

To produce the video, Aug dug into his deep library of local video archives. Clips include video from the mayor’s inauguration, outdoor concerts, and community rallies. The video shared on Facebook, Aug said, is one segment in an upcoming documentary he plans to release in the fall.

“I hope it stands as a slightly humorous approach to profiling such a growing and important city,” Aug said of the video released today.

You can watch the entire video for yourself:

Sean Baker is a Rochester journalist and the founder of Med City Beat.

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