“South of the Border” Documentary earns Sydnie Fouse an A (96) grade

Submitted PhotoPictured is Sydnie Fouse, proud of her video, which can be found here is a picture and the link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60CP12xPMq4. “South of the Border if this is the last we see of The Flanagan then at least I did it justice in capturing its beauty one last time. The fate of The Flanagan is still in limbo Spring Semester Video Project - Inspired by the beauty that I see each time I drive through town, this short documentary covers the history of The Flanagan.”

The Coronavirus pandemic has forced everyone to get a little more creative, even those who already consider themselves so. When signing up for Video Editing and Techniques to help grow my limited knowledge and expansive curiosity, I wasn’t expecting to also be responsible for coming up with a short documentary. Left with the reins, I was reluctantly excited to come up with my own idea for a video, though the possibilities were endless. Still 6 hours away from campus in a town rich with history, I chose to focus on The Flanagan Hotel.

After moving to Malone in 2012 from Tennessee and North Carolina, an 11 year old me was always mesmerized by the bones of a once grand hotel in the heart of the village. All the way through high school I imagined what the hotel once was like each time I drove down Main Street. Now a freshman majoring in Communications and advertising at SUNY Purchase, my class and professor Jill Campbell, who is a filmmaker, gave me the opportunity to dive into The Flanagan’s history and create a documentary on it.

I started by looking online at the few websites that had some information or stories on the hotel. I also immediately began looking for pictures, especially any of the interior. The most helpful place, though, was the Facebook group I’m From Malone NY and I Remember…., especially the group’s well known Patrick Tatro. With the many stories and photos in there, I also found old videos of Malone from 1986 posted by John Stanford, who kindly let me use in my story. The posts were a great help in piecing together the history of The Flanagan. Louise Murtaugh, wife of the late Patrick Murtaugh, saw a post by my mother about what I was doing and generously sent me the aerial photos of the aftermath that her husband was able to take. There was also a Malone pamphlet that also had some history of the Flanagan. In my free time throughout the weeks I would wander by the Flanagan and gather some clips of the exterior for the b-roll (footage under the voiceover). After getting in contact with Frank Cositore, my father and I got permission to explore the premises, so we chose an afternoon and really just peeked in. The damaged wood floorings didn’t look too reassuring, so we were content with remaining outside. Peering in at what used to be, damaged and sad as it also was, the bones still echo the grandeur that once was The Flanagan. As I was editing the clips of the inside together, I realized there is a chance those were the last documentations of the hotel. I hope that the video did our fading landmark justice and can help carry on some of the town’s history.

I chose the name “South of the Border” because when I found out that was one of the restaurant’s names, I found it pretty funny and clever. I also thought about how the location of the hotel and Malone really is nice. One day I hope to see the town booming and something that can attract visitors again.

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