in collaboration with Toby Lee
video, 23 min, 2007

Royal is a small town that sits on highway us-20 in northern Nebraska. Barely three blocks wide and four blocks deep, with a mostly elderly population of about 70, Royal is the kind of town that is often passed by on the way to another place. Trucks and travelers speed past its abandoned buildings and empty lots, between the endless fields and vast blue skies of the great plains.

Countless towns like Royal dot the landscape of rural America. Their populations steadily dwindling, they are usually written off as dying towns, the casualties of changing social, economic and agricultural landscapes, but beneath this first impression lies a more complex picture. A closer look reveals a subtle humor and beauty that emerge from the town’s quiet pace of life and the stories of its residents.

A portrait of everyday life in small-town america, Royal is also a film about memory, community, the passing of time, and the value of looking again.

The video can be viewed online at

Royal received the 2nd Creative Documentary Award at the “Strange Screen” Film & Video Festival in Thessaloniki, Greece, 2007.
Further screenings have included: “Docutrance” (Athens, Greece, 2014); “Platforma Video08” (Athens, Greece, 2008); “Siggraph”, International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques (San Diego, CA, USA, 2007).