Something’s in Plains

Published 11:02 am Monday, June 5, 2023

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Tracy K. Hall

Producer Christina K. Caralis reads about the Carter Boyhood Farm in Archery during filming

Something’s in Plains! We have always known that, in fact perhaps the whole nation
knows that, but a group of Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) students are
highlighting this point in a 20-minute documentary they produced using our neighbors
as their subjects. Griffin Hansen is the director and editor of the short film, Chritina K.
Caralis is the producer and Rebecca Ingle is part of the crew. Griffin describes himself as
a “presidential nerd” and has visited 20 presidential sites. But he says Plains has
something different, something special about it.
In February after the Carter Center announced that “Mr. Jimmy” would be utilizing
hospice serves he and the two ladies made a trip to visit Plains. They wanted to know
what the president meant to Plains and so they went to just regular folks who were
available to be interviewed. Most were local store owners; all play a role in welcoming
visitors to Plains. Griffin says he soon learned, “every brick, every tree is inundated with
the Carters.” Griffin and his team were especially impressed with how much the Carters
are involved in their neighborhood.
The documentary tells of stories of the Carters and how they are just, well, good
neighbors. The people interviewed spoke of everyday occurrences like conversations
about the daily activity, how business is going, and talk of what it is like to live in the
little city. Griffin remarks at other presidential sites, this just isn’t found. But there is
also one thing that stands out for Griffin.
“The economy of Plains is very much attached to the Carters.” Not unusual for a
presidential site, there are many places that capitalize on our respect for the office of
president and like Griffin would consider themselves a novice presidential history buff if
not an outright “presidential nerd.” Griffin sees a vast difference in that the Carters are
active in ensuring the local economy is booming. He was told it is often a topic of
conversation and he sees very clearly that they are invested in the success of the
businesses housed in Plains. Perhaps that is not so different than any citizen which is
wanting the best for their hometown, but in Plains, the businesses depend upon people
to be interested in Plains and in the Carters. Indeed, and rightfully so, Plains has made a
thriving tourism destination out of itself. Those interested tourists shop Plains, eat in

Plains, browse in Plains and ultimately spend their money in Plains. As Griffin states,
“The whole town seems to be tied to this one person.”
What Griffin, Rebecca and Christina also took away after making the documentary is
“When we think of presidential leaders their legacy seems to be attached to 4 or 8 years
of their life. Presidents, or even people off the street can change communities for the
better. What matters is he (President Carter) has taken such lengths to make people in
his hometown feel cared for in a kind way.”
To watch the documentary, go to YouTube and search for Something’s In Plains or visit
Griffin’s YouTube Channel at Gruppet Studios and search for it there. You will enjoy
hearing how the Carters are so invested in their hometown and how their neighbors see
them as friends before they see him as a President.