Real Estate

If You Weren't Paying Attention For the Past Decade, the Calatrava Bridge Will be Recapped in 30-Minute Documentary

Just when you thought the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge had been thoroughly feted, the Trinity Trust sends word that the celebration's not quite over yet.

On June 13, WFAA will premiere Bridging the Trinity For the Love of the City, a half-hour homage by local filmmaker Judy Kelly.

From Trinity Trust CEO Gail Thomas: "With this film, we can relive that celebratory moment and all of the dramatic moments leading up to it. On June 13, we will watch how this bridge was built, from the groundbreaking and topping off of the arch to the stringing of cables and three-day opening celebration."

Kelly and her team had their cameras trained on the project ever since Santiago Calatrava was named as the designer a decade ago. It's not so much a documentary as an "art special" that, like her Emmy-winning film on the Meyerson in the 1990s and a subsequent work chronicling the Nasher, is more about art and architecture and process than about the personalities or controversies involved.

So, the film tracks the pieces of the arch as they arrive in Houston from Italy, where they were fabricated, then are hauled by truck to the banks of the Trinity, wending their way from highway to highway avoid low overpasses.

Kelly pays particular attention to the welders and construction workers who built the bridge. The film's photographer, Ginny Martin, joined the workers on a swing stage to get footage for the film.

The end result is Kelly's favorite of the three she has produced on Dallas' artistic and architectural landmarks.

"The Margaret Hunt Hill bridge is the hallmark for the Trinity River project, and ... because it's the beginning of something, it's so important," she said. "The Meyerson turned us around. When the Meyerson came in the '90s, it actually made the community feel like it could get up out of the real estate ditch. The kind of community spirit I felt surrounding the bridge is really what the special's about."

Anything dealing with a subject as loaded as the Trinity River project has become, however apolitical, will have a tough time walking the line between public relations and art. The only way to find out if she's successful is to watch.

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson