North Pole NY

: Documentary Feature
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Post-Production


The fight to save one of the very first theme parks in America becomes a fight to save imagination itself.


North Pole, NY is an upcoming feature-length documentary about Santa's Workshop, one of the very first theme parks in the U.S. Battling against a changing economy, the digital world, and a con-man who tries to steal Christmas, the dreamers in one small town vow to keep the park open and the magic of Christmas alive all year.


I've loved theme parks and roadside attractions since I was a kid. In 2012, I visited Santa's Workshop with the intention of doing a larger documentary about the history of theme parks. I became so enchanted with the park, the people, and the town of Wilmington, NY that I decided to make the entire feature on Santa's Workshop. I want to share the magic of Santa's Workshop and North Pole, NY with the world.

The economic struggles of small towns across the U.S. are well-documented. As chain stores continue to replace mom and pop stores, Main Street U.S.A. is dying. Roadside attractions, once popular among state highway travelers, are rapidly disappearing in the U.S. or being replaced by behemoth amusement parks full of thrill rides.

Wilmington is proof of the enduring power of both small town communities and the American roadside attraction. Overcoming floods, the recession, and a shady business deal, Santa's Workshop has provided generations of people with their first jobs since 1949. It is a true piece of 1950's Americana.

North Pole, NY is a story of resilience, the power of nostalgia and a portrait of the dreamers in one small town that have vowed to keep the magic of Christmas alive all year round.


Ali Cotterill - Director

Ali Cotterill is an independent filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY. Her shorts have screened at 100+ festivals around the world, won several awards, and been broadcast on Logo TV and Current TV. Ali also works as an editor, notably on the documentary feature United in Anger: A History of ACT UP, which premiered at MOMA's Documentary Fortnight (U.S.) and Hot Docs (Canada) and won Best Documentary at the Milan and Pittsburgh LGBT film festivals. North Pole, NY, is her first feature. 

Christa Orth - Producer

Christa Orth is an independent producer and consultant based in Brooklyn, NY. She has collaborated with Ali Cotterill since 2004 on a number of short films that have screened at 100+ festivals around the world, won several awards and been broadcast on Logo TV and Current TV. Christa served as a consultant on the documentary feature United in Anger: A History of ACT UP. She works as a fundraising consultant at Wingo NYC, a boutique fundraising and design studio. 

Courtney Hermann - Consulting Producer

Courtney Hermann is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and film and video educator from Portland, Oregon. Her most recent independent films include Crying Earth Rise Up (2015), Exotic World and the Burlesque Revival (2012) and Standing Silent Nation (2007). Crying Earh Rise Up was funded in large part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Vision Maker Media and was distributed to Public Television naitonwide through NETA. Courtney is on the faculty of the School of Theater and Film at Portland State University where she teaches film and video production classes.


Connect With The Filmmakers:


IFP Fiscal Sponsorship Program 2017
DCTV 2016 Work-in-Progress Lab


UPDATE - April 01, 2017

We have been busy all winter editing North Pole, NY, and we're pleased to share that we're now at rough cut! We're one step closer to sharing this film with all of you.

Thank you to those of you who have contributed to our film. We are currently raising finishing funds for animation, archival footage and music costs, sound design, coloring and mastering. Every penny that's donated now will help us get this film out into the world so thank you in advance for helping to preserve this piece of Americana for future generations!

- Ali and Christa

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