Documentary Film, Day One

Giorgio, Guy, and I first got together in June, 2013, and this is my first video of the process. We spent several days together over the last few years, so I think he’s got enough in the can to do another one – hopefully it will all see the light of day at some point!

He did flip his NYC co-op and used the money to make this film, and has since gotten married and moved to Hollywood.  We’ll be hearing more from Giorgio!

Here’s what I was talking about in this video – we don’t have the same turnover:

Doc Film San Diego Premiere!

IT’S OFFICIAL!

The San Diego premiere of Owned, A Tale of Two Americas is scheduled for a matinee showing on Saturday, March 23rd at the La Costa Cinepolis!

The producer, Giorgio Angelini, will be here and we’ll do a Q&A session after the film.  I’m hoping to talk him into bringing an outakes/blooper reel too.  There will also be a reception/party afterwards onsite. Our two daughters, Kayla and Natalie will also attend!

This will be a private event, with no tickets sold.  Seating is limited.

If you’d like to come, email Donna at donna.klinge@compass.com

Here is a link to previous blog posts and the five-year history of the project:

Link to Previous Blog Posts



Here is the trailer:

Giorgio’s Documentary Film

Giorgio got a big publicity boost for the documentary film last week when he was featured on the Chris Hayes podcast.  I hate to tease the crap out of it – the film will be released at some point, I promise.  But in this 50-min podcast he lays the whole thing out:

He wrote this article about it too – an excerpt:

In May 2010, in the depths of the housing crisis, I was awarded a grant to photograph a collection of abandoned developments Inland Empire, California. With the mortgage market at a standstill and stocks creeping up from record lows, it seemed there weren’t many buyers for these brand new 5,000 square foot homes.

I rented a car for $12 a day and drove through an endless maze of freshly packed asphalt roads that wound their way through burnt down orange groves, making room for these half-built totems to a globalized housing market gone awry. On many streets, the eery quiet was interrupted only by Tyvek wrap flapping in the wind. Everything around me seemed to be slowly succumbing to the entropy of the brutal desert conditions, and I felt an overwhelming sense of alienation. What the hell had we built here?

At the top of this mountain pass, I came upon an empty home which had perhaps the best view of the entire development. Perched at the edge of the mountain face, overlooking Lake Matthew and miles of vast desert land, the only window facing this awe-inspiring, million-dollar view was a small bathroom window just above the attached garage. It was a profound moment, as this image has become emblematic to me of the utter lack of human intentionality that has overtaken home development in America today.

Simply put, the American single-family home has become a globally traded commodity, with no mission other than to be sold. Defining a home’s value has become increasing tied to a narrow set of assumptions (as are most commodities). And, overwhelmingly, that value is driven by size (price per square foot). But a home’s value should be a much more complex calculation. One that takes not just size into account, but also accounts for its lasting cultural and social impact.

Read full article here:

Link to NBC News

http://www.ownedfilm.com/

I think this clip got left on the cutting-room floor:

Owned: A Tale of Two Americas

Yesterday, we had the west coast premiere of Giorgio’s documentary film, ‘Owned: A Tale of Two Americas’ at the SF Doc Fest.  Here are tidbits:

For those in the Bay Area, it is playing again at the Roxie on Wednesday night at 9:30pm, and will be at other film festivals too.  Giorgio is hoping to have the film picked up by Netflix or similar entity, and possibly explore a series where he breaks out each piece of the film for further discovery.

The film turned out differently than expected. When Giorgio first started the project, he planned to document how suburbia fared during the mortgage crisis – that’s how I got involved. But as the filming progressed, the subject of the film turned dramatically.

An excerpt from this review:

In Owned, the bigger story revolves around a contrarian interpretation of the usually unassailable notion that home ownership is an essential element of the American dream.

“What the film is trying to say is that it’s this double-edged sword,” Angelini says. “Owning a home is great and it provides security, and if you do it the right way it builds strong communities. It dictates where you go to school and your propensity to move up socioeconomically. But at the same time, if you let capital interests invade this utopian ideal and run amok, it can quickly become commoditized to a point that it becomes dangerous for society.”

Through the stark sights of abandoned construction projects in sweeping vistas, Angelini posits that the housing industry is an insatiable beast that subsists on the back of an ultimately self-crippling economic culture.

“The idea of home had been reduced to the most efficient capitalistic desires,” Angelini says. “Instead of bushels of oranges, they decided the best land use was a collection of air-conditioned square feet. There was lack of human intention, where you could almost feel these [markets] printing out this landscape of homes.”

Owned is also a tale of two Americas. In the five years he spent making the film, Angelini expanded his view into other planned development communities and ran headlong into how racial and economic segregation is inextricably linked to middle-class suburbia after World War II.

“The original idea behind the film was rooted in the relationship between design and commoditization,” Angelini says. “It became very clear that I couldn’t tell that story without telling the other side.”

The film goes to hollowed-out neighborhoods in Baltimore to locate the contemporary effects of decades of discriminatory housing practices and policies.

“White flight didn’t happen by accident,” Angelini says. “It wasn’t a self-selecting, albeit racist, situation. It was very much encouraged by federal laws that were interpreted on the local level in particularly bad ways.”

Other video excerpts here – hopefully we’ll have a local showing before long:

http://www.ownedfilm.com/trailer

Giorgio and the Documentary Film

On the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, let’s feature this article on the upcoming world premiere of Giorgio’s documentary film, ‘Owned’.  The movie evolved over time, and the finished product is all about the racial divide in housing.  His website is here, with trailer:

http://www.ownedfilm.com/

The article:

The irony is, I raised money to make this film by flipping two houses,” Giorgio Angelini says, chuckling, about Owned: A Tale of Two Americas, his documentary about the ugly side of the American housing industry, which has its world premiere at Full Frame.

A native of Houston, Angelini bought his first home in Durham when he was playing drums and bass in the Raleigh indie rock band The Rosebuds and touring with Brooklyn band Bishop Allen. But the financial crisis of 2007 and ’08 had a detrimental impact on the entire economy, including the concert and entertainment industry, and Angelini abandoned his musical pursuits to enroll in architecture school.

“In the middle of the crisis, it was an interesting time to be in architectural school,” Angelini says. “We were coming out of this Dubai period of excess, and the discipline itself was asking, what was the role of design and architecture in this post-recession world? All these ideas were ruminating in my head.”

Angelini received a graduate-school grant to research the U.S. housing crisis. His project included photographing the Inland Empire region of Southern California.

“It was five thousand square miles of centerless sprawl, basically nothing but suburban development and private construction,” he remembers. “You had these burned-down orange groves sitting alongside these half-built McMansions, a really post-apocalyptic look. I felt that there needed to be a bigger story told.”

In Owned, the bigger story revolves around a contrarian interpretation of the usually unassailable notion that home ownership is an essential element of the American dream.

“What the film is trying to say is that it’s this double-edged sword,” Angelini says. “Owning a home is great and it provides security, and if you do it the right way it builds strong communities. It dictates where you go to school and your propensity to move up socioeconomically. But at the same time, if you let capital interests invade this utopian ideal and run amok, it can quickly become commoditized to a point that it becomes dangerous for society.”

Through the stark sights of abandoned construction projects in sweeping vistas, Angelini posits that the housing industry is an insatiable beast that subsists on the back of an ultimately self-crippling economic culture.

“The idea of home had been reduced to the most efficient capitalistic desires,” Angelini says. “Instead of bushels of oranges, they decided the best land use was a collection of air-conditioned square feet. There was lack of human intention, where you could almost feel these [markets] printing out this landscape of homes.”

Owned is also, as its subtitle says, a tale of two Americas. In the five years he spent making the film, Angelini expanded his view into other planned development communities and ran headlong into how racial and economic segregation is inextricably linked to middle-class suburbia after World War II.

“The original idea behind the film was rooted in the relationship between design and commoditization,” Angelini says. “It became very clear that I couldn’t tell that story without telling the other side.”

The film goes to hollowed-out neighborhoods in Baltimore to locate the contemporary effects of decades of discriminatory housing practices and policies.

“White flight didn’t happen by accident,” Angelini says. “It wasn’t a self-selecting, albeit racist, situation. It was very much encouraged by federal laws that were interpreted on the local level in particularly bad ways.”

Owned is Angelini’s first directorial effort, though he was executive producer of the feature film My Friend Dahmer. The expansive subject matter is packed into a dense eighty-two minutes, with a generous array of archival footage, from news features and vintage advertisements to television programs: Archie Bunker grouses about African-American neighbors on All in the Family; the inequities of “redlining” are discussed on Good Times. Beyond mere entertainment, Angelini says there’s a narrative purpose behind these pop culture snapshots.

“I wanted the feel and pace of the film to be like if the American dream was a place you could inhabit,” he says. “I wanted to create the fever-dream version of that.”

Doc-Film World Premiere

Giorgio has worked his tail off for four years to bring his documentary film to fruition, and now it’s set to debut at the largest doc-film festival in the world!

The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is an annual international event dedicated to the theatrical exhibition of nonfiction cinema. Each spring, Full Frame welcomes filmmakers and film lovers from around the world to historic downtown Durham, North Carolina, for a four-day, morning-to-midnight array of nearly 100 films, as well as discussions, panels, and Southern hospitality. Set within a few city blocks, the intimate festival landscape fosters community and conversation among filmmakers, film professionals, and the public.

https://www.fullframefest.org/

I have seen the film, and for the most part, we (me and fam) play a smaller role.  As the filming evolved, the story turned more toward the injustice of the government’s post-war housing policy, and the effects on society today. It is a fascinating movie, and I am grateful to have been a part of it.

Here is the new trailer:

Owned, a Tale of Two Americas – Trailer from Giorgio Angelini on Vimeo.

No Sundance For Us

The Sundance Film Festival released their official selections for the 2018 event in January, and we didn’t make the cut.  I’m sure Giorgio was bummed after putting in four years of effort, but he is still optimistic about getting into Tribeca and SXSW:

We had the most fun just shooting the film, so we’ll have good memories regardless – if none of the big festivals come around, we will still have a showing in Carlsbad at some point next year.  I’m not sure how much of us will make the final cut, but this was my favorite clip – Kayla being a realtor:

Here are a few blog posts, including the movie trailer:

https://www.bubbleinfo.com/category/documentary-film/

Material Prosperity

Robert Shiller, like many of us, realize how housing has taken a dramatic turn from providing basic shelter for most Americans into a game to be exploited by the rich – to the detriment of the less advantaged.

His latest article from yesterday’s newspaper:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/04/upshot/the-transformation-of-the-american-dream.html

What do Robert Shiller and Jim the Realtor have in common?

We’re going to be in a movie together!

Giorgio confirmed that the documentary film that has been in the works for the last four years will be ready in time to submit for Sundance 2018!

No one is getting their hopes up too high, considering that last year there were over 12,000 films submitted, and they only took about 1% of them. But if nothing else, we will at least have a screening of the movie here.

Here is the trailer one more time for the newcomers:

Cost per Square Foot is a documentary film project about the singular and perverse nature of the American housing economy. Though much has been written and filmed about the 2008 housing collapse, we seem to have failed to ask a fundamental question:

What is it that we are actually building?

This documentary attempts to answer that question. And in the process, it tell a larger story about housing in America that many people don’t know.

In the years since the US housing market became the epicenter of an unprecedented global economic collapse, protests in Baltimore, Ferguson, and Southside Chicago have highlighted the stark disparities of opportunity that define many American cities. These phenomena are not unrelated – they are divergent paths set in motion by postwar housing policy, a feat of social engineering that simultaneously created the world’s largest middle class, by directly subsidizing suburban development, while systematically depriving inner cities of resources and denying huge swaths of the US population the ability to build wealth through homeownership.

This was by design.

Cost per Square Foot is a historical road trip through the American housing landscape, in all its glory and all its blunder. The film invites viewers into a deeper conversation about our housing economy, one that addresses the fundamental issues of segregation, inequality, and financial instability. Through the stories of a retired NYC cop, a quietly socialist war bride, an aspiring Youtube star / realtor, and a young photographer whose photos of the Baltimore riots propel him into the national spotlight, Cost per Square Foot charts a course between the imagined wealth of seemingly endless “neo-taco-mediterranean special” suburban tract homes built atop razed orange groves, and the stark realities of life in many of America’s inner cities.

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