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America Street| 17mins
Director: Tom Laffay | Producer: Lukas Koncilia, Chris Howell, Tom Laffay
Focus Years: 2011 | Country: United States
Subject Tags: americas, ecology, environment, farming, food, united states, water
Quality Tags: Optimistic, Slow, Activating, Harmonizing
This “People’s Short” was one phase in creating a participatory documentary project about the access, or lack thereof to fresh, locally produced food, and what that means to community in Charleston, SC USA. It was the first “participatory filmmaking” project undertaken by TUF and spanned 10 months in which TUF members opened up discussion about these issues with local community leaders, shop owners, neighbors and students in order to drive the narrative content of the film. Based on countless conversations and time spent, including a community garden run by TUF members and the community, interviews were arranged and interview questions based on community input served as the basis for conducting the film. Once edited, the “people’s short” was shown to each person interviewed in the film to get his/her feedback. The film was also showed at the East Side Community Development Corp. on America Street on Charleston’s East Side which sparked a vibrant community discussion about food and food access, race, gentrification, community and more in a peaceful, lively circle in which roughly 30 people participated. The whole project was carried out by TUF members in their final semester at The College of Charleston without any funding whatsoever. Members devoted their energy and time in between other responsibilities to bring this project to life. We were graciously received in Charleston in a few news articles as well as multiple independent showings throughout town put on by other organizations. If the AMERICA STREET project inspired community members, students, and/or especially some of the youngsters to create dialogue and seek solutions to injustice in their communities, especially through the use of documentary film, then that it was a success. There is potential to revisit this topic and see the AMERICA STREET project through to the end that it could be, but only time will tell.
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Tom Laffay

United States


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