Todd recently completed a documentary project that began in 2016, about Paterson NJ. He grew up in the next town over from Paterson and when he returned to the US his work on Paterson became a way to reconnect with his home and past. The project, inspired by local poets William Carlos Williams and Allen Ginsberg, is a lyrical interrogation of the American dream told through the story of America’s first industrial city and its people.
Paterson was founded in 1792 by Alexander Hamilton to be America’s manufacturing center because he recognized that in order for America to truly be free she needed to be self-sufficient. Grand mills were constructed that were powered by the rushing waters of the falls that dominate the city’s landscape. For the next 150 years, Paterson thrived as a manufacturing city that drew immigrants from all over the world. The silk trade dominated, earning Paterson the nickname the Silk City. Submarines, airplane engines for Wright aeronautics, Colt revolvers, and trains were also produced here. Paterson’s story traces the economic trends that shaped America today.