COATESVILLE — Sarah Alderman says too many people in Chester County have a negative opinion of Coatesville when there are so many good things happening there.
So in 2016 she began talking to ordinary people in Coatesville who live and work there, and for two years filmed them as they spoke candidly to the camera about what Chester County's only city is really like. Beginning this Friday, the one-hour documentary "BYPASSED" will become available to the public.
"It seems the story of Coatesville is very misunderstood by the outside communities in Chester County," said Alderman, a local wedding photographer who created the film. "I wanted to make this film so people unfamiliar with the city could get to know the residents and the residents could have a platform to share their hopes for the future of Coatesville, now that economic redevelopment is underway."
The film does not focus on city officials, but rather on ordinary people who live there. Ross Kershey, legendary former Coatesville basketball coach and historian known as the Silver Fox, is featured.
"I really didn't want to dwell on the history of Coatesville," Alderman said. "When you are from the city, everybody hears about the good old days when the mill was there. But I didn't want to neglect history completely."
Alderman says those who view the film will come to see Coatesville in a new light.
"I wanted residents to tell their stories and let the overarching theme happen organically," Alderman said. "I think it really helps to illuminate some of the stigma those living outside of Coatesville might have of Coatesville and make the viewer think a little more about it and question their viewpoint (about Coatesville)."
"Everyone in Coatesville needs to watch this movie but more importantly everyone who does not live in Coatesville should watch this movie," said Penny Perdick. "It brought tears to my eyes at times and shares the frustrations that our city experiences over and over. It shares our history and our challenges, yet I came away feeling hopeful."
Virtual watch tickets are $20 per household or watch group. The film will be unlocked and available to watch on demand between Friday, Nov. 20 and Sunday, Nov. 22, with unlimited replays that weekend. Those with a smart TV can copy the link from the internet to their TV. All money raised will be used to provide free and low-cost online watch opportunities in 2021, and to cover web hosting fees. And 10 percent will be split between two local nonprofits, Coatesville Kids to College and F.I.S.H. (Fathers Involved Shedding Hope).
For tickets, type "Coatesville Bypassed virtual screening" into Google, and it will be the first link displayed. Link is