File this one under “Things That Make You Go Hmm…”
I stumbled upon this feature documentary while doing some reading up on Ferguson, Missouri’s history (in light of the shooting death of Michael Brown). Titled “Spanish Lake,” the film purports to examine the economic oppression, underlying racism, growing political divide, so-called “white flight,” and the rise of anti-government sentiment in the suburb of Spanish Lake, Missouri.
It took me a few minutes to determine that Spanish Lake, MO is a short 15 minute drive from Ferguson, MO. So connect the dots…
Directed by Phillip Andrew Morton, the filmmaker’s hometown is Spanish Lake (although he currently is based in Los Angeles). He says he was inspired to make the film after witnessing the profound changes the area had undergone over the years, and hopes that the film will engender discussions around the country on the topics it highlights.
The movie combines interviews with former and current residents of Spanish Lake, and includes archival government documents and news reports that chronologically trace Spanish Lake’s history – notably, the area’s black population soaring from 1% to 77% over a 40-year period.
Director Morton (who is white by the way) lived in Spanish Lake from 1980 to 1997. He studied film at Webster University and moved to Los Angeles, where he honed his skills by editing trailers for movies like “Ocean’s Thirteen,” “The Prestige” and “The New World.”
“Spanish Lake,” years in the making (before the world heard about a place called Ferguson, Missouri), is now complete, and has been touring the country, and will next screen at AMC NorthPark 15 & IMAX, in Dallas, Texas, on August 28th. Subscribe to the film’s Facebook page (here) for upcoming screening info, as well as streaming and DVD releases.
It’s not a film I’ve seen, so I can’t offer any commentary on its contents. But based on the comments posted on its Facebook page posts, it’s a fire-starter. The tag-line the filmmaker is using to market it is telling: “The Most Controversial Documentary of the Year. The Truth they don’t want you to hear about White Flight!”
Here’s the trailer: