Asian Arts Initiative with Scribe Video Center
Production & Post Production Facilitator - Gary San Angel; Humanities Consultant - Gary McDonogh & Cindy Wong
This video is available for purchase as part of a Precious Places Community History Project Vol.1 compilation DVD.
I Come From A Place by Asian Arts Initiative (Center City)
Since 1993 the Asian Arts Initiative has used the arts to address social issues relevant to Asian Americans and other groups, particularly youth, whose experiences are marginalized in popular culture. Initially founded as a response to racial tensions in Philadelphia, AAI quickly bloomed into a vibrant community arts organization facilitating a broad range of workshops, performances and exhibitions. But in the fall of 2006, the group received notice that their building on the edge of Chinatown would be demolished to make way for the expansion of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. It would be a repeat of a persistent history of displacement for this Center City Asian American community in an era of urban revitalization. I Come From A Place shows AAI staff and members reflecting on their history as they prepare to relocate to a then unknown location and an uncertain future. It demonstrates the capacity of artistic expression in encouraging personal and community empowerment, and portrays the affront to vital urban communities by urban development.
Asian Arts Initiative, a community arts center in Center City Philadelphia, is a unique and vital meeting place where artists and everyday people gather to think critically and creatively about the experiences of Asian Americans. In the coming months, the organization will have to relocate to make way for the expansion of the Convention Center. Through Precious Places, the group aims to record not only their memories but also their opposition to being displaced.
Produced by Centro Nueva Creacion
"The only time it seems we make the news is when something goes bad. Every time something goes bad, they'll have a sound truck out here filming. When do they ever show the good in our community? This is my home. You don't have the right to call it the Badlands. I live here."
- A frustrated young resident of "The Goodlands"
Centro Nueva Creacion's video honors residents of Philadelphia's West Kensington neighborhood who are redefining their community as a place of peace.
Centro Nueva Creation's mission is to transform their neighborhood by working with youth and families to create a better community. They believe that the assets of West Kensington outweigh the problems and that the area's youth and families have incredible resources for change. Although our community is often called "The Badlands" by the media, they like to promote it as "The Goodlands," a name more reflective of its current reality as a place where dramatic change is possible.
December 9, 2004 - "Scribe Video Center's Street Movies Undercover at Graterford Prison," Greater Philadelphia Film Office Web site (brief mention)
February 2004 & 2005 - Gloria Dei Lutheran Church (Philadelphia, PA)
May 2004 - Southeastern PA Synod's Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Assembly
June 2004 - Centro Nueva Creacion 10th Anniversary Celebration (Philadelphia, PA)
Spring 2004 - Winona Cotter High School in Minnesota as part of unit on community
June 8, July 6 and August 10, 2004 - DUTV Cable 57 (Philadelphia, PA)
July 20, 2004 - WYBE TV-35's Philadelphia Stories (Philadelphia, PA)
August 5, 2004 - Street Movies screening at Sturgis Playground (Philadelphia, PA)
August 7, 2004 - Street Movies screening at Eagles Park (Philadelphia, PA)
December 10, 2004 - Centro Nueva Creacion's Festival de la Luz en el Barrio (Philadelphia, PA)
September 10, 2005 - Hala Cine Latino Film Festival at the Civic Theatre (Allentown, PA)
Louis Massiah and Scribe Video Center for the Philadelphia Planning Commission's Community Heritage Preservation Project
William "Sonny" Martin, Bertha S. Waters and other longtime residents of West Philadelphia's Belmont neighborhood reflect on the area's prosperous past in the first half of the century, its slow economic decline, and the efforts of the Belmont Improvement Association, the Calvary Church and other concerned organizations and individual residents to revitalize the area, with or without sustained governmental assistance.
Louis Massiah is the founder and executive director of the Scribe Video Center in Philadelphia, a media arts organization that provides low-cost workshops and equipment access to emerging video and filmmakers and community organizations. He is an independent filmmaker who has produced and directed a variety of award-winning documentary films for public television.
Known for his explorations of civil rights themes and crises in the African-American community, his credits include two films in the Eyes on the Prize II series and The Bombing of Osage Avenue, about the burning of a black section of Philadephia as a result of the police bombing of the headquarters of the group MOVE. He is also the director of W.E.B. DuBois: A Biography in Four Voices. Massiah has received awards from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the the National Black Programming Consortium, the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters, the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame and several Emmy award nominations. In 1996, he was a recipient of a five year John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowship. His current project, Haytian Stories, examines the complex relationship between the United States and Haiti over the last 200 years.
July 28, 2004 - "Movie-ing on Up: A Scribe Video Center summer film series goes into the neighborhoods," Philadelphia Weekly
7/31/04 - Street Movies screening at Holly Street Garden, Osage Avenue and Budd Street
Produced & Directed by Louis Massiah for WHYY-TV 12, Written & Narrated by Toni Cade Bambara
$99 for Community Institutions: Libraries, School. Non-Profit / $129 for Universities & Businesses
On Mother's Day, 1985, a virtual army of city and state police converged on a quiet block in historic Cobb's Creek, a blossoming neighborhood of parks and children, aluminum siding and basketball stars nestled in the heart of Philadelphia's African American community. By the next day, 61 homes were destroyed and 11 people were dead, all members of the communitarian MOVE organization. In this, the winner of 1987's Global Village Best Documentary Award, Massiah establishes the setting for the tragedy early on, and Toni Cade Bambara's poetic narration draws us deeper into the drama.
"...an excellent film which explores the social and politcal context in which the confrontation between MOVE and the City of Philadelphia developed." -- Bettye Collier-Thomas, Director, Center for African American History and Culture
"This extraordinary documentary is an intricately woven story of government overkill and its impact on the innocent." -- Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Women's Resource and Research Center, Spelman College
Louis Massiah is the founder and executive director of Scribe. He also produced and directed the documentary works Louise Thompson Patterson: In Her Own Words, two films for the Eyes on the Prize II series, and W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography in Four Voices.
Toni Cade Bambara wrote several books of fiction, including The Salt Eaters, The Sea Birds Are Still Alive, Gorilla, My Love, and Those Bones are Not My Child: A Novel, and taught writing workshops at Scribe for many years and collaborated on numerous productions. She died in 1995.