Documentary on Prospector launches screening tour

Four years ago, 25 Prospect Street was still a hollow, derelict building. Four years ago, a documentary by the same name was still only a seed of an idea in the minds of directors Kaveh Taherian and Andrew Richey.

Now, both 25 Prospect Streets — the film and Ridgefield’s beloved movie theater — are thriving.

The documentary, which follows the story of the Prospector and its employees, began a community screening tour this month. The project took years to finish, the directors said, in part because of the “abundance of riches,” or valuable material, they possessed.

“Every one of the Prospects was so welcoming and sweet,” Taherian recalled, referencing theater owner Val Jensen’s nickname for her employees. “We wanted to show all of that.”

He and Richey filmed just under 90 hours of original footage.

“But ultimately,” Taherian said, the directors realized the narrative was more powerful when “narrowed down to those lines that together best told the story of the Prospector and the change it’s making.”

In particular, 25 Prospect Street traces the personal journeys of Kris Mann and Rachel Wise, among other Prospects. Surprisingly humorous and endlessly heart-touching, the film provides a glimpse into the everyday challenges of living with a disability.

The movie has an ambitious goal: to help others “see the possibility for change” in the way we might label or view those who are different, Richey said.

“This is no longer a film to share with just the disability community. I think there’s so much more to share with the greater world.”

Threaded throughout the documentary is the theme of belonging and family. And the directors may have learned just as much about the subject as their audience, they said.

During the filming process, Richey and Taherian found “a second home” here in Ridgefield.

That community support propelled the project to completion. “We had purpose, a great story, great people, a great town,” Taherian reflected.

“We had to finish,” Richey added. “The Prospects were brave enough to open their hearts to us, so we poured our hearts into telling this story as best we could.”

The directors will be screening the film in their home states of Texas and California over the next few months.