Filmmakers producing documentary about Garden City's unique immigrant identity

May 10, 2017

Garden City, KS Main Street looking south.
Credit City of Garden City, KS

Two independent film makers are in production on a new documentary film focusing on Garden City.

According to a press release, film makers Bob Hurst and Tess Banion – in collaboration with lifelong Garden City resident and former mayor Nancy Harness - are exploring the history of Garden City, Finney County and the many immigrant groups that have come to call the area home over the last 100 years and beyond. 

Director Bob Hurst’s interest was piqued when he read a newspaper account of the thwarted terror plot planned last fall targeting Garden City’s Somali community. Today, he believes that is only part of the story that Garden City has to tell.

“Ours is a country of immigrants, and Garden City is a really fascinating example of how some cities adapt and embrace change,” Hurst said. “It seems like Garden City has always been one of those, which is unique for a smaller city.”

Producer Tess Banion helped write a grant five years ago with scholars from the University of Kansas to explore immigrant communities on the Great Plains. That grant was not awarded but her interest never waned.

“There are lots of places in the United States that attract immigrants looking to find work and a new life, but I found through my research, and continue to find, that Garden City is different,” she said.

Filming has begun and will take place in and around Garden City over the next year. The filmmakers hope to finish the film by summer 2018.