Friends, Family, and Supporters: Help us reach the finish line!
About The Film:
Changing Face of Harlem is a film told from the voices of longtime residents, business owners, politicians, developers, and clergy about the dreams and struggles of a neighborhood. The film explains Harlem’s intricate history so you can comprehend the complexity and height of emotions that Harlem citizens express today. If you weren’t aware, Harlem is undergoing a huge rebirth and revival just like many other urban communities of color. Identified as The Black Mecca, the birthplace of the renaissance, and also depicted as a crime-infested ghetto, Changing Face of Harlem takes a critical look at how Harlem has undergone its present transformation.
How CHANGING FACE OF HARLEM got started:
In June of 2000, I shot the very first footage of my film. It was the opening of the Magic Johnson Theatre, the first new movie theatre to open in Harlem in decades. Disney and Old Navy set up shop around the corner. A year later, Bill Clinton announced he was going to open his office here. From then on, things would drastically change for Harlem. I started out on a mission to find out how residents felt about the changes that were happening in their community, their wishes, their fears, and their joys. My mission was to hear the voices, feelings, and opinions from working professionals, longtime elder residents, and younger visionaries on their love and concern of Harlem. Thirteen years later the film has evolved into a historical portrait of the community.
Why The Film Matters?
There is something sacred about the streets of Harlem, something that no other neighborhood possesses. Harlem has a soul. It is the holy ground for some of the most critical forces to shape Black America. Known by its moniker the Mecca of Black culture, Harlem is where men and women went to find their footing and experience spiritual and intellectual growth. Once the capital of Black America, it played a pivotal role in shaping the African American narrative and produced some of the nation’s most important icons. Malcolm X preached from 125th Street, Langston Hughes read poetry from his Harlem home, Billie Holiday sang from the legendary Apollo. Black America experienced a cultural awakening and found its voice in Harlem. This is the legacy Harlem has given to the world.
Critics argue that it is this legacy that newcomers and urban developers fail to preserve and appreciate.
Gentrification has become an inescapable reality for many urbanites, some calling it a nightmare, others welcoming the changes with open arms. Gentrification has become a hot buzzword that evokes strong feelings on opposite ends of the spectrum. The film explores the great ambivalence surrounding the term in one of the world’s most well know and renowned neighborhoods. Featured in the 60 minute documentary are both champions and critics of gentrification. As evidenced through interviews and footage spanning over a decade, the issue is not so black and white.
Some Harlemites are cautious and apprehensive about the changes, seeing it as a slow and steady erosion of the Black community and culture. For them, gentrification has come to signify wealthier residents pushing lower-income residents out of Harlem, as rent goes up and costs of living increases. In their view, that urban developers and newcomers fail to appreciate Harlem’s rich history and legacy and are oblivious to the realities of residents that inhabit Harlem. They argue that while investors, developers and city officials plan the future of Harlem, they are being left out of the conversation.
Proponents of gentrification however argue that it is a powerful force that takes a long neglected community and rehabilitates it. Old dilapidated buildings and abandoned blocks are transformed into new shops, offices, and homes. They argue that gentrification brings with it cleaner streets, lower crime rates, and other quality of life improvements.
The film explores these arguments and more and highlights how a community deals with the challenge of maintaining identity while accepting change.
Why We Need Funds
Making a movie is an expensive endeavor. We have picture locked on the film, which means there are no more edits to be done. We have reached the final stage of post-production. However, we need funds in this last stage for: final sound mix & sound edit, color correction, archival footage, graphics & titles, and music composer fees. All these are necessary to meet broadcast and screening standards. We are submitting to film festivals and with your help we can release the film this year, 2013!
How Can You Help?
Donate to the campaign. Please look at the donation tiers listed to the right to find the level and gift that's right for you.
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We do understand you may not have funds, but you can still help us out by blogging, sharing on facebook, tweeting, and just by talking to others about our campaign.
Please watch a video message from the film's Director by clicking the gallery tab above the trailer.
Meet The Changing Face Of Harlem Team:
Shawn Batey, Director/Producer
Shawn Batey, an award-winning filmmaker, has over 15 years experience as a producer, filmmaker, and writer of documentary films. Third World Newsreel distributes two of her films: Hair-Tage, a cultural documentary on dreadlocks, and Through My Eyes, an interpretation of September 11th from the perspective of Latino and African-American youth. Her additional credits include 60+ , a musical documentary of an all-female senior citizen female band, Making the World Feel Better, the P.S. 230 Mural Project and Tree Fever, a quirky look at Christmas tree sellers in Upper Manhattan. Her works have been utilized within schools nationwide and have screened in numerous film festivals. Shawn was chosen to participate in the 2006 Working Films Residency at MASS MOCA. In the 2007 Harlem Open Artist Studio Tour she incorporated elements of her current work into a multimedia installation. Shawn was the 2007 recipient of the Roy Dean New York City Film Grant. Shawn’s films have screened at The Black Harvest Film Festival, The Museum of Modern Art, NYC, WTTW Chicago, Imagenation Independent Film Festival, and Vues d’Afrique. Shawn Batey has been invited to serve on several panels citywide to speak on the topic of her film, Changing Face of Harlem, at CUNY City College Symposium on Gentrification, Columbia University - Paul Robeson Conference, and CUNY Hunter College - Harlem Gentrification Panel.
Shaun Jaffier, Co-Producer
Shaun Jaffier is head writier and producer for "Sway in the Morning," the morning radio show on Eminem's Shade 45, Sirius XM's premiere live Hip Hop channel. Shaun has also worked as an On-Air personality and writer for "The Cipha Sounds Effect," and "The Great American Morning Show." He has worked as a consultant to Grammy Award winning super producers Pharrell Williams & Chad Hugo at their Star Trak Entertainment /Interscope Records imprint.
Kira Kelly, Cinematographer
Kira Kelly’s passion for documentary work has taken her around the world to countries such as Rwanda and Cuba, to global events like the World Cup Final in South Africa, and to meet Olympic Champion Greg Louganis and Bill Cosby. Kira’s narrative credits includes Were The World Mine, Tailor Made, The Shiner, and Mariachi Gringo. Award Winning Documentaries Afro Punk and Estilo Hip Hop are amongst Kelly’s credits. She has shot music videos for music artists Kanye West, Justin Beiber, Jaheim, Jadakiss, and Landon Pigg. Kira’s commercial clients include Colgate, Nike, Cover Girl, Hewlett- Packard, MTV, VH1, Motorola and Eclipse Gum.
Editor, Tat Ho Yee
Tat Ho Yee’s varied editing background spans the last 12 years and includes broadcast/television work on shows such as Trading Spaces and other shows for TLC, FOX, and The Discovery Channel. Tat was one of the two editors on Estilo Hip Hop, a documentary about music unifying young activists throughout Latin America (PBS 2009). Tat currently works at ABC News in their News Magazine Department. www.Tatedit.com
Editor, Jason Pollard
Jason Pollard co-edited Pete Seeger: The Power of Song that premiered at The Tribeca Film Festival in 2007. He was the editor for the History Channel documentary Black Preachers in 2005 and also co-edited Sing Your Song, a documentary about the life of singer/activist Harry Belafonte that premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Jason edited Slavery by Another Name that aired on PBS in 2012. www.JasonLPollard.com
Music Composer, Jay Rodriguez
Jay Rodriguez is a Composer, Arranger, Saxophonist, Flautist, and Clarinetist. Jay Rodriguez has been nominated for a Grammy under the category of best jazz solo and for best contemporary jazz album. He composed the soundtrack for the documentary, Faces Of Change (PBS 2008). He is the co-founder of the group, Groove Collective. Jay has performed and recorded with a diverse list of talent including Elvis Costello, Craig Harris, Mediski, Martin and Wood, Arturo O’Farrill, Eddie Palmieri, Salif Kieta, and Femi Kuti, Wyclef Jean, and Musiq Soulchild. www.JayRodriguez.com