Philadelphia Stories Program Descriptions
20th Anniversary Interview with the curator of the WYBE signature series spanning 8 seasons - originally broadcast starting in 2001 featuring Independent films by Philly filmmakers
Premiered Thursday Oct 28, 2021
THURSDAY APRIL 28
Season 6, Showcase (2008)
On Bass (Dir. Nadine Patterson)
This short is Casey Montgomery's last dream. When his daughter Zera comes home from work she discovers he has passed away. Starring Warren Oree as Casey and Sia Kpakiwa as his daughter Zera
Berks and Belgrade (Dir. Michael O’Reilly)
E. Berks St and Belgrade St. is an intersection in Fishtown, Philadelphia. Berks and Belgrade is also the name of the film inspired by that intersection. Having lived with a birds-eye view of the cross streets for five years, filmmaker Michael O'Reilly accumulated footage and stories of the events that happened there – drug deals and "corner boys" - there are images of the hands of these men with the word "Berks" on the right and the word "Belgrade" on the left. The most dramatic footage in the film is of the five-alarm fire of the nuisance store across the street - bright orange flames shooting out of every window. The subsequent demolition is captured in time-lapse, and the store is eventually reconstructed as a "green building", significantly transforming the corner and, by extension, the entire neighborhood.
Right to Recovery (Dir. Joy Esther Phillips Butts)
brings to screen the work of New Jerusalem Now, Inc., a community of formerly homeless residents helping each other overcome the obstacles to "fullness of life" caused by addiction to drugs and alcohol. The documentary shows how the "Right to Recovery" results in increased understanding of the devastating impact that substance abuse and alcohol addiction have on one community within Philadelphia, and what one group of people has done to change themselves and their community.
Land of the Giants (Dir. Dominic Hilton)
about the giant puppets and the puppeteers of the Spiral Q Puppet Theater in Philadelphia. The group builds the puppets then uses them for performances, parades and festivals. Spiral Q have an active education program, organize the annual “Peoplehood' parade to promote community and diversity, and open their studio to groups needing puppets and props for demonstrations about issues such as AIDS medication, alternative transport and school funding. They also maintain the Living Loft Museum where the public can view a large collection of the giant puppets.
Minding the Hive (Dir. Sarah J. Christman)
Humans have harnessed the remarkable production of the honeybee for thousands of years. Recent widespread population decline among commercial bee operations has focused attention on the long overlooked honeybee. With one third of our diet dependent on honeybee pollination, the stakes are high for bees and people alike. While scientists race to determine a cause for this mysterious 'colony collapse disorder', beekeepers continue to persevere against countless viruses and environmental stresses that increasingly threaten their hives.
With Every Breath (Dir. Ram Devineni)
is a short documentary about African American poet Lamont B. Steptoe, who is a long time resident of Philadelphia and Vietnam War Veteran. Steptoe, an American Book Award winner, deals with the many aspects of his life through his poetry from post-traumatic syndrome resulting from the war to his life as a gay man of color. This short poetic film encapsulates a compelling literary figure and his thirty-year life in Philadelphia
Coming Home After 22 Years (Dir. Phally Chroy)
A Cambodian who transverse as a child from a refugee camp to America has spent his life trying to figure out what he is. Given a chance to go back to Cambodia, he founds himself stripped of his American identity, lost in a place that he called mother in his heart, to only be lost in the complexity of a strange world that he thought he knew and cycles back to the his origin. The return back home to family, wherever it is, that has taken 22 years in the making.
Asians Misbehavin’ Model Minority Men (Dir. Anula Shetty)
features a blend of stand up, spoken word and sketch comedy addressing Asian American identity, racism and anti-Asian violence. Written and performed by Philadelphia based Asian American performance artists Daniel Kim, Michelle Myers, Anula Shetty and F. Omar Telan, Asians Misbehavin raises awareness of media misrepresentations of Asian Americans. In this episode, would-be superheroes Model Minority Man and Rice Rocket Kid join forces to valiantly protect fellow Asian Americans, and the myth of the model minority.
Island Idyll (Dir. Frances McElroy) ***and Ann Tegnell
the story of a commercial fishing town that for generations of vacationing families has provided a "healthy respite" from urban life and been a haven for "quirky individualists." A two-block wide strip of sand lined with tiny beach cottages and a trailer-park, the town lies adjacent to some of the most expensiveand desirable real estate in New Jersey. With ocean and bayside property increasingly attractive to developers, the town is vulnerable to the same economic pressures that have altered shore communities up and down our American coasts. With each new mega-house, affordable housing vanishes along with the working families and seniors who form the heart of the town. There is real fear that Strathmere will soon become nothing more than another resort town for wealthy summer-people.
Rah Crawford: Pop Star (Dir. Maori Karmael Holmes)
This video introduces Rah Crawford a Philadelphia-born contemporary pop artist who seeks to "define the modern generation through [his] art". In just four years since his art world debut his work has graced gallery walls in New York, London and Amsterdam. He's created art live on stage with The Roots and Outkast and Jill Scott and they have also commissioned him. He has coined his own brand to describe his body of work--Neoteric Pop-Iconic Clairvoyance (NPIC), a technique that asks the viewer to not only study and admire the images but to seek and find hidden text or numerals within the work and associate the words or phrases with the visual to come to a more vivid understanding of the work.
Fashion First: Sneaker Kicks (Dir. Sosena Solomon)
examines the obsession of sneaker culture, as part of the Philadelphia fashion scene. It explores the booming sneaker industry's influence on modern pop culture in the US and focuses on it's impact on a Philadelphia's subculture.
Down the Hatch: The Life Teaching of John ‘Red’ Stuart (Dir. Andrew David Watson)
Red Stuart is a world-renowned sword swallower and sideshow performer. After retiring from the road in 1996, Red returned to his hometown of Philadelphia. Red still performs on occasion and spends his free time teaching and inspiring a whole new generation of sword swallowers. This short documentary takes a look at Red's colorful career, life accomplishments and efforts to keep the art of sword swallowing alive.
THURSDAY MAY 5
Season 5, Episode 10 (2006)
African Garden (Dir. Mike Kuetemeyer and Anula Shetty)
African Garden is a documentary about the creation of a cultural garden, Villa Afrikana Colobo, to ease racial tensions in a primarily Latino neighborhood in North Philadelphia. Using a blend of interviews, oral histories, archival photographs and experimental visuals, this video documents the evolution of an abandoned, vacant lot and its transformation by a group of motivated women in the community.
The View from Amber Street (Dir. Erika Mijlin)
The View from Amber Street is a documentary about a pair of buildings in Philadelphia - about their history, their tenants past and present, and about the neighborhood they inhabit. This is a story of a neighborhood transformation in progress - a Philadelphia story as a microcosm of the larger patterns of post-industrial America. The View from Amber Street features the many colorful tenants in the buildings, but also contextualizes them within the local community of Port Richmond, as well as within the larger national and global communities of which they are part. By gathering the many stories in the building and in the surrounding neighborhood, the film captures a building, a neighborhood, an economy, and a nation in a state of flux.
THURSDAY MAY 12
Season 2, Episode 2 (2002)
Sam & Squirrel (Dir. Sam Zolten)
Recorded over the span of eight years, Sam & Squirrel reveals a very special bond that develops between two artists. Frank "Squirrel" Williams and Sam Zolten crossed paths in the basement of a music store. Their relationship deepened and the video camera became a window on their respective worlds.
Look Forward and Carry on the Past: Chinatown (Dir. Barry Dornfeld and Debora Kodish in partnership with Philadelphia Folklore Project)
A collaboration between Asian Americans United, the Philadelphia Folklore Project, and filmmaker Barry Dornfeld, this documentary illustrates the strength and complexity of Philadelphia's Chinatown. Focus is on the role of folk arts and community cultural expression in the community's continuing struggles for respect and survival. Touching on community efforts to stop a stadium from being built in the neighborhood (one of many fights over land grabs and "development”) and on other occasions when the community comes together (including Mid Autumn Festival and New Year), the documentary attends to the everyday interactions, relationships, and labor so often overlooked that build and defend endangered communities.
THURSDAY MAY 19
Season 4, Episode 3 (2004)
Knee Deep (Dir. Ann Tegnell and Sharon Mullally)
Knee Deep follows the volunteers of the Senior Environment Corps based at Center in the Park in Germantown. They are a retired bus driver and lab tech, an amateur paleontologist, and a Harvard-trained chemist who have taken on the task of sampling and testing the water of the Monoshone and Wissahickon Creeks of Fairmount Park. Quietly, this diverse group of senior citizens is generating the long-term data that will help us and our progeny make necessary changes in how we manage water and waste. Through the story of the Corps, Knee Deep teaches us the value of the many small acts of grassroots activism. This work, combined with a commitment to educating children and communities about our urban environment, is the joyfully given legacy of the Senior Environment Corps.
Trash Is A Failure of Imagination (Dir. Karen Mintz)
The adage "one person's trash is another person's treasure," comes to life in this video which takes a look at a handful of artists who use recycled materials as the foundation of their work. From lights and timepieces to figures and furniture, to an entire "made from recycled home'', this show is full of inspiration and ideas for those who want to give junk a second chance.
THURSDAY MAY 26
Season 7, Episode 2 (2010)
The Man Who Loved Trees (Dir. John N. Campbell)
The Man Who Loved Trees is a story of open space preservation in Montgomery County, recalling the extraordinary efforts of Peter Schlotterer, who during his lifetime dedicated himself to preserving open space in his community, at times assuming great financial risk. Told through interviews with his friends and associates, Peter's love of nature and his enduring legacy are revealed.
Weavers Way Farm (Dir. Jean Warrington with Historic Fair Hill)
This film explores the Weavers Way Farm. Weavers Way Farm is an urban organic farm in Philadelphia that grows food for markets and restaurants with the labor of hundreds of volunteers from Weavers Way Co op in Mt. Airy.
For All Mankind (Dir. Daniel Louis Clifton)
Johnny Red always wanted to be a scientist and work for NASA when he grew up. After several academic mishaps, Johnny is stuck in his suburban Pennsylvania town. When all other means of impressing the local community fail, Johnny decides to build a functioning time machine. Instead of using correct science, Johnny decides to base all of his research on action-adventure films of the 1980s and '90s. Only his girlfriend, Penny, and a five-year-old neighbor believe in him. Johnny is humiliated on the news, and discouraged by his old physics professor Howard Lorington. Lorington doesn't want Johnny to fail, he simply wants him to use real science instead of science-fiction. After Penny helps Johnny to see the error in his ways, he goes back to the professor to get the right scientific information. Working through the night, Johnny applies what he has learned from Lorington and is ready to launch the next day. He is greeted by hundreds of local residents who have come out to see their new hero.
Harvey Finkle’s Photography: A Call to Action (Dir. Joy Esther Phillips Butts)
For the past 41 years, Harvey Finkle has given numerous activist groups, otherwise overlooked by mainstream media, the opportunity to tell their stories through the medium of photography. Harvey Finkle's Photography: A Call to Action showcases his extraordinary ability to capture the grassroots movements for social, economic, political and cultural change as they happen in the streets of Philadelphia. Through this documentary Harvey reaches out to the public to continue his call to action on the relevant issues that define the groups he photographs
THURSDAY JUNE 2
Season 1, Episode 3 (2001)
Crosstown (Dir. Miriam Camitta)
The story of urban renewal set in South Philadelphia during the 1950s and 1960s, focusing on the reaction of a diverse group of people to a proposal to build an expressway through South Street, the beloved main street of their neighborhood. It is a Philadelphia story that cuts across time, gender, race and economics.
SK8 B-Lo I-95 (Produced by Big Tea Party)
Skateboarders and Philadelphia's city government collaborate to create the world famous skate park, Philly Side, located in a corner of FDR Park in South Philadelphia
Loqueesha Franklin Jose Brown (Dir. Nadine Patterson)
The collaboration among Philadelphia's finest artists; poet Ursula Rucker, filmmaker Nadine Patterson and music composer/producer Rob Yancey results in the creation of a soundscape of poetic imagery set to Ursula Rucker's provocative meditation on a child growing up in Philadelphia.
THURSDAY JUNE 9
Season 4, Episode 4 (2004)
I Choose to Stay Here (Dir. Barry Dornfeld and Debora Kodish in partnership with Philadelphia Folklore Project)
I Choose to Stay Here follows a group of people opposing the city of Philadelphia's "takings' ' of private homes: the little-known downside of the city's "redevelopment" initiative. This 20-minute documentary shows people fighting city hall for the right to define and preserve viable communities, and tracks their struggle for justice. The video is a collaboration between the Community Leadership Institute, the Philadelphia Folklore Project and filmmaker Barry Dornfeld.
Peace in the Goodlands (Produced By Scribe Video Center in partnership with Centro Nueva Creacion)
In Peace in the Goodlands, Centro Nueva Creacion honors residents of Philadelphia's West Kensington neighborhood who are redefining their community as a place of peace.
Westside Store (Dir. Amiram Amitai)
The Seveners gang was a tough group of inner city teenagers. But when one of their grandmothers suddenly needed a wheelchair, the gang's members changed the course of their actions to buy her one. With the guidance and encouragement of their young neighbor. Maria, they directed their energy towards constructive self-enterprise in a second hand business. With the help of a local businessman, their enterprise evolved from the selling of recycled items to the opening of their own store. Filmed in 1982 in North Philadelphia and Germantown. Starring students from the High School for the Performing Arts.
THURSDAY JUNE 16
Season 2, Episode 7 (2002)
All Items $1 (Dir. Shakti Jaising)
The story of a low-income neighborhood bordering Temple University in North Philadelphia, a once-prosperous blue-collar neighborhood that rapidly deteriorated in the early 1960's, is told through oral accounts provided by a local dollar store owner and two residents who shop there.
Lunch Cart (Dir. Kevin Diehl)
New immigrants arrive in America daily. A vast majority seek safe haven from the political oppression and economic hardship of their native countries. Many manage to find it in the lunch-cart businesses that blanket the urban American landscape. They serve fast food from their native countries and their adoptive one, to a mix of students, cab drivers and professionals on the run. A fast paced look at fast food and colorful characters, Lunch Cart reveals a patchwork of lives in transition and often on the mend.
City Halls 2.1.5 (Dir. Michael O’Reilly)
Each City Halls piece is like a bucket full of words, music and images, drawn from an ever deepening well of media. Michael O'Reilly generates these pieces (there are at least seven in total) out of scraps of unused footage shot in and around Philadelphia. Using proprietary software, he makes meaning out the discarded, releasing each piece as an iteration of a growing whole.
THURSDAY JUNE 23
Season 3, Episode 11 (2003)
Crop Circles (Produced by Big Tea Party)
This documentary digs into Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), a growing trend taking root across the country, committed to bringing back old ways of connecting people to farms and farmers. Host Elizabeth Fiend chats with local farmers and consumers who all concur that CSAs are important not only for personal health but also for the health of the environment and the preservation of local farms producing locally grown food. Between visits to rural and urban locations, Big Tea PaRtY has some fun by sneaking into a fast food restaurant to see if people have lost their connection to the land that feeds them.
Los Trabajadores (Produced by Scribe Video Center in partnership with El Comite de Apoyo a Los Trabajadores Agricolas (CATA)
Los Trabajadores tells the stories and day-to-day experiences of mushroom farm laborers from Kennett Square and Reading, and examines their efforts to improve working and living conditions through organizing. El Comite de Apoyo a Los Trabajadores Agricolas (CATA) is a migrant farmworker organization that is governed by and comprised of farm workers who are actively engaged in the struggle for better working and living conditions.
Hair Appointments for Josie (Dir. Nicole Keating)
This compelling short film focuses on Josie Wierzbicki, a lively, 75-year-old South Philadelphia woman who tells the story of her life to her hairdresser while getting her hair done. In this "cinema verité '' documentary, the filmmaker explores the meaning of this ritual for women in their "golden years", who often continue to visit beauty salons regularly despite strong social messages that they are no longer considered beautiful.
THURSDAY JUNE 30
Season 5, Episode 11 (2006)
Asians Misbehavin’ (Dir. Anula Shetty)
Asians Misbehavin features a blend of stand up, spoken word and sketch comedy addressing Asian American identity, racism and anti-Asian violence. Written and performed by Philadelphia based Asian American performance artists Daniel Kim, Michelle Myers, Anula Shetty and F. Omar Telan, Asians Misbehavin raises awareness of media misrepresentations of Asian Americans.
Rendezvous at Renaissance (Dir. David Toll)
Rendezvous At Renaissance explores Philadelphia's chapter of Renaissance Trans gender Association. As told by its members, Renaissance provides education about and support of the transgender community in the Philadelphia region. It is the rare transvestite or transsexual who has not believed, at least at one time or another, that he or she is the only person in the world who enjoys dressing in the clothes of the other gender or wants to change their gender. This sense of aloneness often brings real separation from family and friends and feelings of guilt. Many transgendered people report that only after they became better acquainted with others who share their need to crossdress or change gender did they begin to accept these conditions in themselves. The benefits of shared experiences leading to understanding and acceptance also extend to the family members and friends of the transgendered. The director's goal for this documentary was to capture the feeling of "I'm the only one” that most transgender individuals first feel to the revelation that through a support group such as Renaissance the feeling of belonging and acceptance. Individual stories are woven together to narrate this look at the transgender community.
THURSDAY JULY 7
Season 4, Episode 2 (2004)
Recontrer (Dir. Filmon Mebrahtu)
Rencontrer is a 30-minute cinéma vérité documentary portrait of West Philadelphia's growing African community. We follow six African immigrants for one day as they live their daily lives and traverse various layers and cultures as we allow the camera to intimately capture the daily rhythms of their new homeland. While each of the film's six pieces focuses on one person, they're linked together by interpersonal connections.
Fo(u)nd Memories (Dir. Barbara Kigozi)
Fo(u)nd Memories is an 11 minute visual poem that explores the relationship between the filmmaker and her maternal grandparents. Both of her grandparents were deceased by the time she was seven years old. Through the use of photographs, voice-over, music and text, this visual poem will juxtapose her childhood memories of growing up in the East African country of Uganda, and her desire to gain a sense of connection with her grandparents and know the legacy that they left behind. The video will explore the impact of a relationship that ended too soon, leaving the filmmaker to reconstruct the narrative of her grandparent's lives.
The Golden Pheasant: An Orphan’s Tale (Dir. Bernadine Mellis)
The Golden Pheasant tells the story of a girl on a quest through a magical but lonely city to find the bird that left its golden feather on her windowsill. Ultimately, she is seeking more than the golden pheasant, and her search continues even after she has discovered its nest. She comes to see that her world, though missing someone very important, still calls to her, holding all of her own possibilities. The film is inspired by an Egyptian folktale of the same name.
THURSDAY JULY 14
Season 1, Episode 11 (2001)
Severed Souls (Dir. Tina Morton)
Severed Souls is about Corinne Sykes, the first African-American woman executed in Pennsylvania. Sykes, a Philadelphia maid, was accused of killing her employer, Freda Wodlinger. The documentary chronicles both the Black community's recollection of the execution and the filmmakers' haunted connection to it.
Family Values (Dir. Eva Saks)
Family Values is about a normal American family: a nice couple in suburban Philadelphia who run a family business. On another level they are not typical at all: the two parents are both women and the family business is cleaning up murder sites—which takes them all over the city, into every community and culture.
THURSDAY JULY 21
From Season 8, Episode 5 (2011)
Featuring in its entirety
El Sol Sale Para Todos (Dir. Leticia Roa Nixon)
Chronicles the rapid growth of the Mexican community in the historically immigrant neighborhood of South Philadelphia. Told through the first hand experiences of the main subjects who have been a formative part of this development over the last 20 years, "El Sol Sale Para Todos" presents stories from the subjects' memories, reflections and perspectives about the complexity of searching for a better life in a country that is not one's own.
THURSDAY JULY 28
Season 3, Episode 6 (2003)
Winter (Dir. James McGillin)
With the onslaught of nuclear war looming in the collective unconscious of many Americans, the fear of regret--of not saying "I love you" to the wife before heading to work, or of not asking for forgiveness from a friend prior to the "fallout"eating at them, the three main characters must focus on solidifying their relationships before the inevitable happens
Chance (Dir. Lowell Boston)
Inspired by real events, Chance is a live-action adaptation of a poem, Life and Poetry, written by the filmmaker. Based on the inconclusive results of a medical exam, Chance is about the risk one faces in life, the choice one makes, and the power of hope. Blending prose text, moving images and photography, this experimental video was shot in Collingswood, NJ, Manayunk and Fairmount Park.
You Never Know (Produced by Big Picture Alliance)
James Carter is like any other 17 year old high school student. He goes to class, has a part time job and enjoys hanging out with friends and flirting with girls. James starts his new job at the local health clinic and his life is forever altered when a mandatory screening reveals that he is HIV positive. As James searches for the answers to how he may have contracted the virus, secrets are revealed by both his girlfriends and his family that show how one mistake can affect the lives of so many others.
City Light (Dir. Lynn Denton)
This experimental film traces patterns of natural light, beginning with a cat on a rug inside the house moving outside and down the street. Three sections define three different moods accentuated with a jazz-based score by pianist Uri Caine. A visual artist, performance artist and filmmaker.
THURSDAY AUGUST 4
Season 1, Episode 10 (2001)
A Tourist (Dir. Keiichi Kendoh)
A young Japanese man comes to a new country, a new city--Philadelphia--looking for the answer to a question from a voice in the past. Although he is lost in time and space, mysterious messengers deliver pieces of the puzzle.
She Be Dancer: The Philadanco Experience (Dir. Carmella Vassor-Johnson)
The Philadanco Experience, explores the process of Philadelphia dance company and founder Joan Myers Brown as they build towards their 30th Anniversary Season. We share the dancers' joy, pain, struggles and accomplishments alongside Ms. Brown's contemplation of the company's future.
THURSDAY AUGUST 11
Season 5, Episode 7 (2006)
Scene Not Heard: Women in Philadelphia Hip Hop (Dir. Maori Karmael Holmes)
Philadelphia is often referred to as the mecca for American soul music, but right from the beginning of the hip hop movement, its artists have made major contributions as emcees, graffiti artists, dancers, and especially as deejays (e.g. Cash Money, Jazzy Jeff, King Britt). And, like many cities, the women in Philadelphia's hip hop scene often get overlooked, though there are many "making moves'' behind the scenes as writers, producers, and promoters. Scene Not Heard poses the question "where are all the ladies?" and then seeks solutions for giving voice to a seemingly absent presence.
Little Surabaya (Dir. Anita Schillhorn van Veen)
In 1998, political turmoil in Indonesia sent waves of people seeking refuge on other shores. Since then, Philadelphia, USA has been home to thousands of Indonesians. Little Surabaya delves into this growing community. Meet Indonesians like a former calendar model, an MC from Disney World, an evangelical singer, and more, as they work - and play - to make Philadelphia their new home.
THURSDAY AUGUST 18
Season 2, Episode 9 (2002)
A is for Anarchist, B is for Brown (Dir. Louis Massiah)
The history of activism, particularly youth activism, in Philadelphia has roots that are long and deep-from struggles against slavery to contemporary struggles against racism, criminalization of youth and around educational issues. A is for Anarchist, B is for Brown. looks at the growing community of youth activists that has developed in this area and has built on the strategies of other progressive campaigns (the Civil Rights movement, the struggle around HIV/AIDS policy, the labor movement).
THURSDAY AUGUST 25
Season 2, Episode 4 (2002)
Jazzyfatnastees: In Process (Dir. Michael J. Dennis)
The Jazzyfatnastees are a vocal duo who have spent the last four years making music in Philadelphia. Jazzyfatnastees: Process follows members Mercedes Martinez and Tracey Moore as they run through final rehearsals with a new band for a performance at The Black Lily, the weekly live music showcase for left-of-center female artists that they created in 1999. Get a brief history of the group, as well as a glimpse into the rise of "Neo-Soul," a form of Black Music that the Jazzyfatnastees helped pioneer: a mix of live instrumentation with hip-hop beats.
Stop Killing Taxi Drivers (Dir. Filmon Mebrahtu)
The Philadelphia Taxi Association hastily organizes a demonstration in August 2001 in immediate response to the shooting death of an African immigrant taxi driver, the fourth taxi driver fatality since the beginning of the year. Fellow African immigrant drivers express their sadness, frustrations and appeal to the City of Philadelphia for protection during a demonstration of over 1,000
Mother Dot’s Philadelphia (Dir. Ryan Saunders and Malkia Lydia)
Mother Dot's Philadelphia takes us on a tour of veteran faces and old-school places at the root of Philadelphia's rich African American music scene. The film follows Philadelphia jazz icon Dottie "Mother Dot" Smith as she visits her contemporaries of the 40's, 50's and 60's and the hot spots they once frequented. The segments are linked by a poetic thread of period re-enactments conveying Mother Dot's personal story of music success and life challenges
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 1
Season 5, Episode 14 (2006)
Implosion (Dir. Mark Scalese)
How do you make up for lost time when it's already too late?... Implosion is a film about grief and regret. It's also about the difficulty people have in overcoming stereotypes and preconceptions as they try to connect with one another. The implosion of Philadelphia's Veteran Stadium provides an emotional backdrop for a father's grief over his son's death in a car accident. It takes a series of encounters with his son's boyfriend for him to recognize they have more in common than he would care to admit - and to begin the slow path to healing.
From The Dell to the El: A Neighborhood Evolving (Produced by Scribe Video Center In-Partnership with Friends of Fairhill and Kensington CDC)
From the Dell to the El: A Neighborhood Evolving tells the story of Fishtown's evolution through the history of four churches in the neighborhood. Both life-long residents and newcomers share their views on the changes affecting this historically White working and middle class area.
Fridays at the Farm (Dir. Richard Hoffman)
A poetic documentary following the cycle from seed planting to final crop harvesting on a small community supported organic farm in suburban Philadelphia. This project seeks to document one full growing season at a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm as seen through the eyes of one of its members. This personal diary explores our human connection to land.
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 8
Season 4, Episode 10 (2004)
Norris Square (Dir. Michael Kuetemeyer and Anula Shetty)
Norris Square is a documentary about the revitalization of the primarily Latino Norris Square Neighborhood in North Philadelphia. Centered around the rejuvenation of a park which forms the heart of the neighborhood, formerly called "Needle park" because of the numerous drug needles strewn all over the park pathways, this park was cleaned up by a resident driven initiative and is now a symbol of pride for the community. The documentary also explores the immigrant experience in Philadelphia. The reasons why immigrants came here, their perspectives, hopes, accomplishments, and concerns. The stories will share personal triumphs, reveal barriers, celebrate heritage, and highlight civic participation efforts. This film aims to build bridges across generations and across cultures and strengthen a sense of community pride.
Priority 3 (Dir. Brendan Jerome)
As the 2002-2003 school year began, Philadelphia Public Schools were faced with not only the challenge of implementing the new privatization plans, but also curtailing the rise of student violence. Priority 3 examines this issue by looking at three teenagers, each of whom were victims of assault on school grounds, and how they individually cope with their injuries. In addition, the film follows three administrators including CEO of the School System Paul Vallas, West Philadelphia High School Principal Ozzie Wright, and Safe Schools Advocate Harvey Rice. Each subject provides a unique perspective on how to handle this issue, from harsher punishments on perpetrators to holding accountable the parents who fail to take an active role in their children's lives.
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 15
Season 7, Episode 5 (2010)
Yo! Taxi (Produced by Termite TV Collective)
Yo! Taxi is a firsthand account of the real issues, struggles and circumstances on the job from members of the Unified Taxi Workers Alliance of Pennsylvania. What emerges is a portrait of Philadelphia area cab drivers as seen through their own eyes. Taxi workers of diverse backgrounds and ethnicities share stories of their lives allowing the passenger (or viewer) to get behind the driver's seat and better understand who is at the wheel. This film was created as part of Termite TV's Life Stories Project (www.termite.org).
Philly Home Movie (Dir. A.Q. Quintero and Deb Rudman)
What are the things that make living in Philadelphia great and what are the things that make people want to scream? Two friends have a conversation in the form of letter writing about the most loved and most hated aspects of our city. We get a closer look by interviewing neighbors answering these questions. Using Super 8 film (commonly associated with home movies) to evoke a sense of familiarity and nostalgia creates an intimacy and familiar aesthetic encouraging the viewer to relate on a more personal level than video alone as a means of understanding and connection - it is just like watching someone else's home movies!
Shifting Sands (Dir. Louise Akanlu)
According to the New York Times (December 27, 2007 issue), about 300 Catholic priests arrive from other countries to work in the United States annually. Originally from Nigeria in West Africa, Reverend Father Paschal Onunwa has been serving the Catholic community of St. Isaac Jorgues, in Valley Forge Pennsylvania, for the past 11 years. Shifting Sands is a five-minute excerpt from a documentary about Father Paschal's work, his experiences and some of the values that he brings to the Catholic community of St. Isaac Jorgues. It also highlights the views of some of the members of the parish on having an African priest in their community.
A World Without Boundaries (Dir. Chris Castor)
Many people have misconceptions of the abilities of individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Many of us draw our conclusions from what we see on TV or in a movie; they think that people living with blindness can play piano or some kind of musical instrument, or that they are left to a life of darkness without much room for what is commonly considered to be a productive, vibrant and independent life. In fact, just the opposite is true for a number of people living with blindness and navigating life blindly as it were. Although just as the sighted community has a diverse group of individuals with or without challenges, the blind community is very capable of leading a "normal" life, despite their limited or lack of vision. This documentary shows a cross section of the blind community, from the extremely "normal" and talented people that build, make and shape their blind community and our nation as a whole to those locked in a world of darkness immobilized by fear and ignorance. People who are blind, regardless of the fact that less than 30% of the nearly 12,000,000 affected by blindness or visual impairments, are active as advocates for a wealth of special interest groups, are high powered attorneys, hotel magnets, high power and well positioned federal employees, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, yet what society sees when they close their eyes and imagine the life of a visually impaired individual is a life devoid of independence, relationships, darkness and anything and everything not “normal” according to societal dictates. This documentary brings an honest representation of the blind world to sighted people.
illvibe! (Dir. Rashid Zakat)
llvibe! is a 5-minute documentary about the up-and-coming Philadelphia DJ crew, The Illvibe Collective. Consisting of a diverse group of DJs, the Illvibe Collective has been growing their respected brand of '90s style turntablism since 2000, The Illvibe Collective throws consistently successful parties, release regularly listened to podcasts, travel the world to DJ, host a successful radio show and have shared the stage with such notable acts as Gang Starr, King Britt, Jazzy Jeff, Q-Bert, Cee-Lo, Les Nubians, Public Enemy, Prince Paul, The New Deal, Zap Mama, Nelly. The Illvibe Collective is unique to the Philadelphia hip hop scene in their "Do It Yourself" mentality, their old school aesthetic, and their attention to every sonic detail.
The 13th Amendment (Dir. Michael J. Dennis)
This documentary short follows a 90-year-old, great-great grandmother on her trek to vote for Barack Obama in the 2008 Pennsylvania Primary. Having voted all her life, this is the first time she's had the opportunity to vote for a Black man for the office of President of the United States.
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 22
Season 1, Episode 14 (2001)
The Seekers (Produced by Big Picture Alliance)
Produced in collaboration with students from North Philadelphia's Village Prep School, this sci-fi thriller is set in the year 2075—70 years after a great world war devastated both civilization and history. The Seekers are bands of young people chosen by the remaining human survivors to recover the knowledge of the vanished civilization. To reach their goal they must undertake a perilous journey and find the WISEONE
ACT Up! (Produced by Big Tea Party)
Philadelphia ACT UP has maintained a strong membership while membership declined in other cities. This video presents their approach to real victories for people with HIV.
Summer of the Serpent (Dir. Kimi Takesue)
On a scorching summer day, the public pool becomes a bizarre melting pot where people of various ethnicities converge to cool off. It is here that an unlikely, but compelling, bond develops between two people from different worlds: a young pre-pubescent girl and a Japanese gangster in this coming-of-age story set in Philadelphia.
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 29
Season 8, Episode 7 (2011)
The Dance Lesson (Dir. Chinonye Chukwu)
"The Dance Lesson" is the story of a young, black girl struggling to be a ballerina and part of a gentrified community, which she feels is so different from her own. But as both worlds collide, it is only time before she is confronted with the beauty that can exist in her own reality.
Housing as the Road to Healthcare (Dir. Sarah Bones)
This video documents the extraordinary transformation that occurs when Philadelphians considered "chronically homeless" are provided housing first, and teaches us the importance of safe, affordable housing for maintaining good health. The participants visit the places where they slept when they were homeless while they reflect on their own personal experiences living on the streets then transitioning into housing. The video is a product of an ongoing participatory research group at Pathways to Housing Philadelphia.
Mud Architect (Dir. Thomas Poret)
"Mud Architect" is a documentary film depicting the art and artistic philosophy of noted Philadelphia artist William Daley. In this film, Daley creates one of his distinctive ceramic pots while discussing his ideas about making art and the continuing struggle to keep invention fresh.