Fred is the subject of Alexander City native Ava Lowrey’s student documentary titled Fred: The Town Dog. | Submitted

Archived Story

Local makes film about Rockford town dog

Published 4:01pm Thursday, January 24, 2013

The story of how one dog united a community will soon be told through a documentary when Alexander City native Ava Lowrey finishes production.

Fred: The Town Dog is a story about how one stray mutt found his way to the county seat of Coosa County and became the mascot of Rockford.

It was a story Lowrey, film director, knew she had to tell.

“I remember hearing about Fred whenever I was little,” Lowrey said. “I think it’s a great story.”

Lowrey, a senior in film and television production at New York University, said she chose the story to produce for her thesis film. Getting back to her roots was also an important part of the project.

“I do enjoy New York, but there’s a lot of things I miss about the South, too,” Lowrey said.

Highlighting Southern culture and community was a priority for Lowrey, who said those qualities don’t always shine out to Northerners.

“They think of negative stereotypes, and there’s a lot of good in the South,” Lowrey said.

So armed with limited knowledge of Rockford but a basic outline of the documentary she wanted to film, Lowrey set out for Coosa County, starting with several trips alone, no camera, to introduce the idea.

“People were very warm and welcoming and excited to talk about Fred, their small town and why they love it,” Lowrey said. “I feel like I actually got closer to the people in Rockford than I thought I would.”

Lowrey started by talking with Kenneth Shaw, owner of Ken’s Package Store, where Fred spent most of his time. As it turned out, the story wasn’t just about Fred or any one person – it was about the whole town.

“They’re all people I feel like I can identify with and an audience could identify with,” Lowrey said. “(Fred was) something that brought them all together.”

Lowrey and her film crew – the three of them, including Benjamin Russell High School senior Hamp Haynes – filmed the story in November and December. The next step is to raise enough money to finish producing and marketing the film, after which they plan to submit it to a number of film festivals as well as Alabama Public Television.

And when she graduates, Lowrey – who has been making short videos since she was 15 – said she plans to continue making documentary films.

“It’s my passion,” Lowrey said. “It’s what I want to do.”

To contribute to the completion of Fred: The Town Dog, visit the documentary’s fundraiser at www.indiegogo.com/fredthetowndog. To find out more about the project and view a trailer for the film, visit www.fredthetowndog.com

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