Sept. 22: Splicing into an Existing Narrative: Living Los Sures and Local Co-creation

  • Knox Hall 509 606 West 122nd Street New York, NY, 10027 United States
© Alicia Atterberry, 2015

WHEN: Thursday, September 22, 2016, 6 - 8 PM

WHERE: Knox Hall, 606 W. 122nd Street, Room 509

A film about a Brooklyn neighborhood, once ignored by community leaders and nearly lost in the archive, becomes an article of local pride 30 years later; an opportunity for a new conversations opens. Produced over 5 years by 60 artists at UnionDocs Center for Documentary Art, LIVING LOS SURES is an expansive project about the Southside of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Known by its long-term Latino residents as Los Sures, the neighborhood was one of the poorest in New York City in the late 70s and early 80s. In fact, it had been called the worst ghetto in America. Today, it is the site of a battle between local identity and luxury lifestyle. With the restoration of LOS SURES, a brilliant work of cinéma vérité filmmaking as a starting point, the project has developed into a collection of 40 SHORT FILMS, the interactive documentary 89 STEPS, and the cinematic people’s history SHOT BY SHOT, demonstrating new possibilities for collaboration between an arts institution and its surrounding community to collect memories and share local culture.

In this event, Christopher Allen will screen some pieces from Living Los Sures and examine the practical techniques and theoretical frameworks used to develop the project, including how oral history and local memory forged meaningful relationships, inspired many young creatives to work together and get more involved, and aided efforts to shift the power balance for a community resisting the growth machine.

Christopher Allen is a producer/director of documentary media projects and a programmer of multi-disciplinary events. After graduating from Columbia University and studying at Trinity College Dublin, he co-founded UnionDocs, a Center for Documentary Art, and has been responsible for the organization’s growth from grassroots as the Executive Artistic Director. He has initiated many collaborative projects, uniting the creative efforts of hundreds of artists, documentary makers and communities including Living Los Sures, Documenting Mythologies, Capitol of Punk and Yellow Arrow. This work, which has been exhibited in festivals, galleries, and museums internationally has been awarded grants from the the NEA, New York Council on the Arts, the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences,  among others. In 2014 and 2016, Brooklyn Magazine named him one of the most influential people in Brooklyn culture. Christopher has served on the juries of film festivals such as RIDM (Montreal) and Doc Lisboa, and on funding panels such as NYSCA and LEF. He collaborates on live media performance projects with his partner, artist A.S.M. Kobayashi. 

SPONSORS: This talk is part of the Paul F. Lazarsfeld Lecture Series, co-sponsored by the Columbia Center for Oral History Research (CCOHR) and the Oral History Master of Arts Program (OHMA). Support from the Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics (INCITE) is provided for programming that embodies late Professor Paul Lazarsfeld’s commitment to improving methodological approaches that address concerns of vital cultural and social significance.

INFORMATION: For more information, please email Amy Starecheski at aas39@columbia.edu.

THIS EVENT IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. REFRESHMENTS WILL BE SERVED.

NO REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED, BUT RSVPS ON THE EVENT FACEBOOK PAGE ARE APPRECIATED TO GAUGE ATTENDANCE.

Check out OHMA student Christina Pae's (2015) reflection on this event here!