From director Shawn Batey comes the upcoming feature-length documentary, Changing Face of Harlem, which examines the revitalization of Harlem, told from the POV of the people who have lived there prior to when the area started to really become gentrified, and who continue to live there, witnessing all the changes, first-hand.
Here’s a longer description:
Since the late 1980’s, the image of the Harlem neighborhood has evolved drastically from a crime-ridden ghetto abundant with abandoned buildings to an appealing economic investment with a rising draw of tourism and interest among large commercial business. As a result, the neighborhood has attracted new residents and new commercial corporate entities. Harlem residents have a mixed range of opinions about the future of their community. Some are fearful of what lies ahead and look towards the past for the best of its years. Others foresee a brighter future a happier days for a better Harlem. The main consensus that is prevalent among the community is a concern and necessity for cultural preservation.
So a conflict in ideas and opinions that should make for good drama on screen. Of course this is an issue that we continue to see play out all over the country – whether the rapidly changing face of a once economically-deprived homogenous community is good for that community. Those married to old/traditional ideas, versus those who embrace the change, and want to blend into the larger society, and participate in what it has to offer.
The last update on the long-in-production film (it’s been trudging along since 2007, if not before), states that a work-in-progress screening was held in May of this year, as the filmmakers continue to tweak.
Expect a release in 2013 – likely a debut at a film festival. But it’s good to know that Batey kept hope alive, and continued to work on the film through the years, much of it spent looking for money to complete.
There are a few clips available for you to watch embedded below: