By Will McClure
In 1995, Stamford helped play the background to the film The Stars Fell on Henrietta, the only real time Stamford graced the big screen outside of early newsreels that featured the Texas Cowboy Reunion. Now, a little over 20 years later, one filmmaker has decided to give Stamford the full film treatment as Adam Baldowski is filming a documentary about the Stamford community. Adam is the grandson of Stamford resident Maggie Baldowski who once operated Maggie's Cafe, a short trip down the sidewalk from the Grand Theater. Encouraged by the eventual reopening of the Grand next year, Baldowski started the filming process last weekend and will continue to shoot and edit at various times throughout the next year to help create a film that will show the heart of Stamford.
"I spent my summers here [in Stamford] with my dad, Gary," Baldowski said. "My dad grew up here, so I used to accompany him in the summers and drive cross-country. It was a kind of father-son road trip. I always had a soft spot for Stamford and over the years I started to understand more about how the community came together and started to see that while there have been struggles, it always manages to survive. The community was always a part of it." Baldowski went on to state that he had been talking about filming a documentary for several years, but had always struggled to find what the central story of the film would cover. However, Baldowski was able to find his theme when he heard two months ago about the Grand Theater being renovated for the spring, deciding that it was now the time to get started on Stamford's documentary.
A teacher at the Full Sail University with a background in film and television, Baldowksi set out to get to work on the film, focusing on the revitalization of the theater, the traditional aspect of the Texas Cowboy Reunion and Stamford Bulldog football. Baldowski said that he hopes to come back to Stamford in January with his parents to shoot more footage before coming back in July to film parts of the Texas Cowboy Reunion. With work needing to be done, Baldowski began the filming process by visiting Stamford High School on Friday, meeting with High School Principal Greg London and many of the teachers while he walked around the school, filming the students and the activity that is Stamford ISD. Baldowski said that he was thoroughly impressed with the enthusiasm of the students and the heart and dedication of the teachers throughout the day as they demonstrated the heart and spirit of the community, not only in the school itself but also during the pep rally and during the football game against Hawley, where he continued to pick up more footage for the film. In addition to visiting the school, Baldowski continued the filming process the next day by visiting with Cowboy Country Museum Director Sandra Rhea as part of his full day of getting shots around town, including possibly being able to visit the Grand Theater as it is being cleaned out.
With so much to film and plan for in the future, Baldowski said that he plans to edit the film in progress as he continues to work on getting the required shots for the film throughout the year, making the final production process a little bit easier once he films the final frames of the film. Once finished, Baldowski said that he hopes to premiere the film at the Grand Theater, but at this point the plans for the film after the premiere are not set in stone as far as a possible theatrical release or a pitch to networks such as PBS. He said that there are many different ways that the film can be pitched so it can be seen by a wider audience, but for now that is a long way off as he has only begun the filming process.
Over the next year, the community of Stamford will continue to be captured on film as Adam Baldowski looks to capture the heart and spirit of the Stamford community. While the filming process will take a long time due to certain events, Baldowski looks to get as much as he can to tell the story of a humble little town. More information about the film will be known and confirmed once it is completed next year, but for now the journey has begun to bring Stamford to the silver screen.