"RISING UP: A Westside Story", a documentary film by David Lewis Productions and commissioned by Blank Family of Businesses Chairman, Arthur M. Blank, gives viewers a detailed look into the ideation, construction, and impact of Mercedes-Benz Stadium (MBS) on the city of Atlanta. The documentary will premiere exclusively on Georgia Public Broadcasting Nov. 23, 2020 at 8 p.m. ET.
In 2014, Blank broke ground on what would become the premier sports and entertainment venue in the world, not only in design and fan services model, but also the impact it would have on the surrounding neighborhoods. This documentary highlights the immense fiscal and construction challenges during the build, as well as challenges and opposition the organization faced by some in the surrounding Atlanta communities. The film features appearances from community activists, local government officials and those directly impacted through programs set up by the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, including Westside Works.
"Our vision from the start was to not only build a magnificent home for our football and soccer teams in the heart of downtown Atlanta, but to be a catalyst for positive change for the people and neighborhoods on the city's westside," said Blank. "David and his team have done a wonderful job capturing the entire journey in this film, including the inevitable challenges you face on a project like this. More importantly, I think the film shines needed light on how partnerships between business, government, community and ordinary citizens can make tangible, positive impacts on generational problems. It also clearly illustrates that there is still much more to do, and the stadium and our organization will play a role in that for years to come."
"RISING UP: A Westside Story" captures the story of building MBS with raw, unfiltered accounts from the community members, associates and leadership teams. Following a collaborative approach, the film displays the true potential of Atlanta when business and civic communities work together to rejuvenate Atlanta's westside community. Keeping with the goal to invest in the quality of lives of those who live in surrounding neighborhoods, the documentary offers an inside look into the lives of some graduates of Westside Works in the fields of construction and culinary arts
Westside Works, a neighborhood program that works to create employment opportunities and job training for residents of the Westside community, including Vine City, English Avenue, Castleberry Hill and other contiguous neighborhood. Westside Works is in partnership with The Arthur M. Blank Foundation, Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA), Integrity Community Development Corporation (Integrity CDC), Per Scholas, Invest Atlanta, Metro Atlanta YMCA, First Step Staffing and Atlanta Workforce Development Agency. Since launching, Westside Works has placed more than 600 residents into full-time jobs across CDA training, construction, CNA, education, culinary and Information Technology. To date, Westside Works has placed more than 800 Westside residents in living wage jobs, resulting in more than $22 million in wages earned.
The documentary will air on GPB Monday, Nov. 23rd at 8 p.m. ET and will be re-aired throughout the remainder of 2020 and 2021.