What if you could change the world with a vision and a hammer? That’s exactly what happened when a group of high school students living in rural Bertie County – the poorest county in North Carolina – were given the freedom and direction to construct and transform their community. IF YOU BUILD IT is a documentary that follows the journey of Inhabitat’s former managing editor Emily Pilloton and her partner Matt Miller as they transform the lives of ten high school students living in a town marked by high drop out rates, chronic obesity, dismal employment opportunities, and little access to fresh produce. Read on to learn more about how to attend the premiere TONIGHT and where you can grab tickets to see the film for free next week and meet the incredible people behind this inspiring project.

if you build it movie, Patrice creadon, Christine omalley, neal baer, Emily pilloton, matthew miller, bertie county north Carolina, ifc center nyc
Image via Project H Design Facebook

The film captures a story (some of it was shot by the students themselves) of design as a way to unleash the power of problem solving inside the walls of a high school classroom. Designer activists Emily Pilloton and Matthew Miller faced the challenge of returning hope to students who never saw success as an option. They also battled the realities of an unrelenting school board that decided to cut the funding for their salaries, thus compromising the critical work that had to be done.

Up for the challenge of redefining innovation in education, Pilloton and Miller led students through a full-scale design and build project that pushed them to think beyond the limits of their circumstances. The students struggle and overcome as they master construction skills and re-define creative solutions in the pursuit of re-inventing their town and their own lives.

IF YOU BUILD IT opens TONIGHT at the IFC Center, and the audience will get a chance to hear directly from the film’s director, Patrick Creadon (of WORDPLAY and I.O.U.S.A.), and producers Christine O’Malley and Neal Baer.

Click here for more information about IF YOU BUILD IT and visit the IFC Center site for tickets. We’re also giving away tickets on Inhabitat for free so click here to enter our giveaway!

+ If You Build It Movie

+ Project H Design