Documentary Screening

Our independent documentary, The Real Bedford Falls: It’s a Wonderful Life, will be screened tomorrow, Dec. 11, in Seneca Falls, New York, as part of the It’s a Wonderful Life Festival. It will be shown at 1:30 p.m. at Trinity Church.

Drone photo by Chase Guttman.

Our film asks the question: Was one of the world’s most beloved motion pictures influenced by a small upstate New York town? The Real Bedford Falls: It’s a Wonderful Life is an Emmy Award-winning, half-hour documentary that explores the connections between Seneca Falls and Bedford Falls, the setting of the movie It’s a Wonderful Life.

Frank Capra, the movie’s Academy Award-winning director, was reportedly visiting relatives in Auburn, New York, when he stopped in nearby Seneca Falls to get a haircut. The barber who styled his hair recalled Capra asking many questions about the town, including, “What’s the story with that bridge?”

Fast forward to when actress Karolyn Grimes, who played Zuzu Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, saw Seneca Falls for the first time. With snow falling and holiday lights glittering, she exclaimed, “I’m in Bedford Falls!”

Photo by Stu Lisson.

These and many other striking relates are touched upon in The Real Bedford Falls: It’s a Wonderful Life. The documentary also examines small-town life in Seneca Falls, captures the excitement of the annual It’s a Wonderful Life Festival, and celebrates the enduring themes of the Frank Capra classic.

The Real Bedford Falls: It’s a Wonderful Life features interviews with Karolyn Grimes, Jimmy Hawkins (who played Tommy Bailey), Monica Capra Hodges, granddaughter of Frank Capra, film critic Leonard Maltin and Syracuse University professor of pop culture Robert Thompson. Former NBC Today show correspondent Bob Dotson provides the narration.

The film was produced by Honest Engine Films and distributed by Virgil Films & Entertainment. It’s available here. The cost is $2.99 on both Amazon Prime and Apple TV.


4 thoughts on “Documentary Screening

  1. I had a chance to watch the documentary this weekend and enjoyed seeing a familiar town in a new light. I never knew about that sign/marker on the bridge, and I look forward to stopping and paying my respects to Antonio the next time I pass through. I enjoyed learning about the ties/similarities between Seneca Falls and Bedfords Falls, as well as pondering the question it raised about what modern-day people (especially some key residents of SF) are looking by celebrating/perpetuating the apparent relationship. Lovely work. Congratulations!

    • Hey Daeya! Thanks so much for watching and for the positive feedback. It was a three-year passion project, and I’m glad it’s now out there for people to see. I’m also looking forward to heading back to Seneca Falls to take in the sights post-pandemic.

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