Three cheers for Worcester

Filmmakers tout city things to love
By Pamela H. Sacks


Andrea Ajemian and Kaz Gamble have worked in the entertainment field in New York, Los Angeles and London.

But both grew up in Central Massachusetts, and in their view, there’s no better place.

The city and its surroundings are so much to their liking, in fact, that the two are creating a series of four-minute videos called “Worcester Love.” Acting as the hosts, they visit a spot, conduct interviews, offer a little history, inject some humor and ham it up a bit, usually while clad in bright red “Worcester – Paris of the ’80s” T-shirts.

Ajemian and Gamble have posted three episodes on their Web site,, and plan to add one more each week. They’ve spent an afternoon at Green Hill Park, filmed at the Statehouse during Made in Massachusetts Day and visited Alta Vista Bison Farm in Rutland.

“We thought, `How cute would this be if we had a show where we went all around Worcester County and did these episodes at restaurants, parks and other places we think are really cool,’” said Ajemian, who was raised in Rutland. “Both of us are crazy personalities and love being in front of the camera. We’ve combined that with our love for Worcester.”

Ajemian, 32, is an award-winning actress and movie producer. She returned from Los Angeles last May to produce “We Got the Beat,” a film set in the 1980s that is based on the first “boy band.” She and her business partner, Jon Artigo, plan to make the movie in Worcester and use local actors in many of the parts, as they have with two previous movies, “Rutland USA” and “Freedom Park.”
Artigo/Ajemian Films took offices in the Printers Building at 44 Portland St. in Worcester. Gamble, a composer and music producer who hails from the city’s Vernon Hill neighborhood, came on board to handle music for “We Got the Beat.” Gamble returned to Worcester from L.A. because he wanted to pursue making a documentary on cities, with Worcester as the focus.
The idea for “Worcester Love” came to Gamble and Ajemian while they were filming for the documentary. With more than 30 hours of footage in the can, they knew they had far more than they needed for the two-hour film. The video series seemed a particularly good idea given what the pair had learned from local college students who were interning with them.
“I know that of the thousands of college students, a lot go to Providence and Boston on the weekends and don’t stay in Worcester,” Ajemian said. “Kaz and I recognize there are lots of great things to do in Worcester. But if you were from South Carolina, how would you know?”
Gamble, 34, noted that Worcester is a difficult place to come to know because of the distinct neighborhoods. Yet it is not deserving of its reputation as a boring city, as far as he is concerned.
The pair realized that Worcester was in serious need of a couple of home-grown boosters. And with the footage they already had, they were ahead of the game.
“After we’ve got a bunch of episodes online, nobody can say, `There’s nothing in Worcester,’” Gamble asserted.
They plan to turn up at spots as diverse as festivals, exhibitions, restaurants, hair salons and spas.
The Green Hill Park episode features visitors fishing, swimming, laughing and eating on a sunny summer day. The hosts talk and joke with children, parents and grandparents. The interviewees have come to Worcester from Brazil, Afghanistan, Puerto Rico and the Middle East, and they speak in English and their native languages. A mother and daughter are inspired to burst into song. The park is enticing. The video is upbeat and fun-loving. Ajemian even discovers that the park’s bathrooms are not open, a situation she hopes the publicity will resolve.
“Both my mom and dad were watching the Green Hill Park episode, and they said, `Wow, this is amazing. We want to go there,’” Gamble said with a laugh. “They’ve been there, but we’re all so busy in our lives we don’t appreciate what’s around us.”
“I feel strongly that one of the charms of Worcester is its diverse population,” Ajemian chimed in. “How do we bring people together and celebrate the diverse population? We hope to have future episodes with different languages spoken.”
Each episode takes roughly a day to shoot and two days to edit. The filmmakers expect to produce a steady stream of them.
Meanwhile, Gamble is continuing work on his documentary, “Welcome to Worcester,” while Ajemian is busy raising $2 million to make “We Got the Beat.” “It’s the type of project I won’t stop until we make it,” said Ajemian, who recently was the guest host on the Jordan Levy show on WTAG-AM.
If their Internet project goes as planned, Gamble and Ajemian can envision putting out a DVD for the holidays, “The Best of `Worcester Love.’”
“The greatest thing about the Web site is it’s free for everyone to go see, and, hopefully, it will bring pride to the people of Worcester to see how lovely and exciting the city is,” Ajemian said with a big smile.