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Meet — and Watch — Needham's Remarkable "Pony Boys," October 23, 2022

"Pony Boys"
Film Producer/Director Eric Stange and Team

Sunday, October 23, 2022, 2:00-3:30 p.m.
Community Room, Needham Free Public Library
1139 Highland Avenue, Needham, MA 02494

Free and open to the public
Sponsored by the Friends of the Needham Public Library

This will be an in-person event in the Library's Community Room.

It is summer 1967. Two little boys from Needham, 9 and 11, hitch their pet Shetland pony King to a cart and drive 350 miles over 27 days to the Expo '67 world's fair in Montreal — on their own — at 5 m.p.h.

For the boys, 9- and 11-year-old Tony and Jeff Whittemore of South Street, this improbable journey became the adventure of a lifetime. Now "Pony Boys," an award-winning documentary tells this extraordinary tale about parenting, childhood, and fulfilling the dreams of childhood in a time not so long ago.

See the acclaimed, 24-minute film and meet the team that produced it at a free event presented by the Friends of the Needham Public Library on Sunday, October 23, from 2:00-3:30 PM, in the library's community room at 1139 Highland Avenue.

Independent documentary film Director/Producer Eric Stange of Spy Pond Productions will tell how he was inspired to make the film. He will be joined by "pony boys" Jeff and Tony Whittemore, who now live in Arlington and Webster, respectively, as well as composer John Kusiak, who wrote the score.

"As a documentary filmmaker, the story struck me as pure gold," Stange says. "It raises so many questions that are as urgent today as ever. What constitutes good parenting, and how can we teach children resilience, capability, imagination and resolve? Did Jeff and Tony's parents do something hugely irresponsible and horribly dangerous? Or was it a brilliant move that gave their two boys deep reservoirs of self-reliance to draw on as they matured?"

Stange says he's equally intrigued by what the pony boys' story says about how our world has changed in 55 years.

The film launched Sept. 27 as part of the New York Times Op-Doc series of short documentaries by independent filmmakers It won the Special Jury Prize for Documentary Short at the 2022 Independent Film Festival Boston.

The program is free and open to the public. However, registration is required. Please register here.

For general information about programs sponsored by the Friends of the Library and the schedule of future programs, click here.