New Jersey Stage published its 25,000th story in December 2021. As the site approached the milestone, we posed the question on social media as how we should celebrate. One response was to highlight our favorite stories from over the years. We liked this idea, but could not narrow things down to just 25 favorites so we will present a favorite each day from different genres. Every Wednesday will feature a story about film. This week's choice is our feature on Dovere For Camden, a film by Douglas Clayton that screened at the New Jersey Film Festival in 2018.
The feature was published on January 23, 2018 and is available here. The film was a special project for Clayton who grew up just outside of Camden in Collingswood. He was inspired to make the film after seeing a production of Last Rites (a play about Camden by Joseph M. Paprzycki) at the South Camden Theatre with his wife and his brother.
Dovere is an Italian word for responsibility, respect. Joseph M. Paprzycki and Pepe Piperno felt a responsibility to deliver the respect that their beloved, broken city - Camden, New Jersey - deserved. Once a thriving city, Camden fell on hard times in the 1960s and 1970s. Drugs, crime, and corrupt politicians brought the city to its knees. Joe, Pepe, and a small group of folks came together to breathe life into Camden by investing their creativity, hearts, souls, and treasure to turn what used to be Joe’s grandfather’s abandoned bar into a professional theatre.
“The story is about the plight of cities that were once honorable, great cities and then they’ve fallen from grace and are struggling,” explained Clayton. “Some cities are coming back. Here’s the example of Camden, New Jersey. You have these two guys (Paprzycki and Pipemo) who were born in Camden and spent their formidable years there, but their families moved away once the city started to get tough. And then many years later - and separate from each other - they decided to try to make a difference; to try to do something for their old neighborhood and city.”