Russell bat works topic in film on industry

From the forest in Warren County to a stadium and a professional baseball player standing at home plate.

The story of Larimer and Norton Inc.’s wooden baseball bats is one of many featured in the documentary “American Made Movie” that highlights small and large companies that contribute to the United States economy and manufacturing sector.

Directors Vincent Vittorio and Nathaniel Thomas McGill will stop in Warren County on July 22 to screen the finished documentary with employees and family members at Larimer and Norton Inc.’s office in Russell as part of a national economic bus tour that will visit over 30 cities in over 30 days.

“Through making this movie we learned how every American plays an important role in helping our local and national economy succeed,” said Vittorio. “When you come to understand the people behind the products you buy and how the products you use are made, it will have a greater impact on where you money is spent. The movie focuses on the human element in this topic and shows that it doesn’t matter if you are an entrepreneur, student, stay-at-home mom, or a senior citizen, you have the power to transform America’s future and be a part of the solution by just realizing that there is a relationship between what is made and what you buy every day.”

The documentary started with the idea of exploring the relationship with the products people purchase, said McGill, leading them to talk with different business leaders and entrepreneurs across the country. “We just started to realize we have this relationship with the things we buy and what’s made,” said McGill. “We wanted to take a look at manufacturing, historically, what it’s meant for the country and presently…with everyday Americans.”

“Who are the people behind the things we buy?” said McGill. “We follow the bat from, really, Warren, Pennsylvania to Louisville at the factory, to the stadium and into the player’s hands.”

The answer to that question led them to Larimer and Norton Inc.’s saw mill in Akeley.

Most people likely don’t think about where the trees were cut to make the bats, about the employees in the forest or the mill shaping the wood into a bat and making it all happen.

“That’s something in the film we wanted to highlight and walk through,” said McGill. “We got to go up there, spend time in the mill, go out in the woods and see the trees being chosen that would one day become a Louisville Slugger.”

Brian Boltz, general manager of Larimer and Norton Inc., said the documentary crew spent a day with the company’s forester, filmed the entire operation and they interviewed four or five employees as well.

The film started out in the Louisville factory and when they called about visiting the mill in Akeley, Boltz said, “We obliged and they filmed the operation, interviewed employees…stayed an extra day and took them out into the forest where we were harvesting trees.”

McGill said they want people to think locally in terms of their consumption of items such as cars, televisions, and shoes and about the production chain that may take place in their community or home state.

“It was a cool trip out to the woods, it was great. We love the guys there,” said McGill. “It was one of our most memorable shoots.”