Late in 2012, a two-man creative team from Arte (Association Relative à la Télévision Européenne) – a Franco-German television network that’s akin to the U.S.’s PBS – spent a week in Pittsburgh, filming interviews and footage of Pittsburgh today, vis a vis the famous black-and-white images of the city captured during the 1950s by the great American photographer W. Eugene Smith. These images are iconic of post-war America and illustrate the evolution in Pittsburgh and its environmental and economic transformation that spans over half a century.
The footage was used to create a short TV documentary that aired in France and Germany, as well as a five-episode web report on the Pittsburgh then and now – probing how this transformation was realized and the work that remains to be done. Promoting the project on Arte’s website, Producer Vladimir Vasak notes, “Pittsburgh is a city that has undergone total transformation: from a city of steel, industrialized and polluted, it is now green and high-tech … a miracle of which Americans are proud.”
With France and Germany being among the top global destinations for foreign direct investment into the Pittsburgh region, Arte’s program and web report provide reinforcement in those countries about the region’s 21st-century strengths and illustrate why Pittsburgh is a choice destination for business investment, as well as tourism. As it’s been said, “everything [including investment] begins with a visit.”
For regional residents, the web report is a great reminder of how easy it is to overlook what we have. Seeing the region through the eyes of our visitors from Arte makes it nearly impossible to not proclaim, “J’adore Pittsburgh!”
Check out two of the episodes below (“Visit Pittsburgh” and “Pittsburgh’s Renaissance”) and view the complete web report here. It’s divided into five chapters that look at Pittsburgh’s image, heroes, economy, democracy and lifestyle.