More than 1,000 people visited the Red Dirt Road exhibit during the Traverse City Film Festival, held July 26th- 31st in Traverse City, Michigan. The exhibit included hourly screenings of the award winning documentary, "Red Dirt Road" by film director Rodney Rascona, a re-creation of the actual Red Dirt Road workshop in rural Cambodia, and an extraordinary collection of handmade Red Dirt Road bags, purses, and scarves available for purchase.
The 14 minute documentary was filmed on location in Cambodia, and follows the life of Hab Saly, who quit her job in the garment industry to follow her dream to start her own sewing business in her home village, which has no access to electricity or running water. After being introduced to Saly and the story of Red Dirt Road, viewers had the opportunity to walk through a replica of the village workshop seen in the movie.
The workshop re-creation was designed by Lin Alessio, and was augmented by photographic images taken during her and Marie Eckstein's visits to the rural village to mentor and work with the seamstresses. The simple tools used to make the Red Dirt Road products were on display, including treadle sewing machines and coal heated irons.
The documentary movie and village workshop set the stage for a memorable introduction of Red Dirt Road products to the Traverse City area. Visitors repeatedly noted the very high quality and contemporary styles of the handmade items. A recent addition to the product line, the Red Dirt Road hand painted silk scarves, were a top seller, and can be purchased on-line at www.Red-Dirt-Road.org.