23rd & Union is a docu-drama looking at the effects of gentrification on communities of color and other marginalized populations, director Rafael Flores told CDN in August. The film mixes real interviews with dramatized fictional characters to tell a story that takes place around the murder of Philadelphia Cheese Steak owner Degene Berecha.
The film, which is scheduled for release this summer, also looks at “tension between young African-American men, Ethiopian immigrants and gay couples in Seattle’s Central District.”
I hope community groups take the time to host screenings of this and engage in dialogue about the opportunities and challenges of receiving a new demographic of households into the Central District. Some good facilitated discussions may actually bring us all together to come up with strategies to make sure existing residents benefit rather than are displaced by gentrification.
Where’s the Elephant Car Wash at 23rd and Union?
I take it this film is more “drama” than “docu?”
with plenty of drama. There’s a much much deeper story here and shot in slow and steady format, with plenty of questionable behavior and acts by mostly all parties.
Check out the excellent doc Flag Wars from COlumbus Ohio, as the market pressures have nearly decimated that city’s black community from having anything to do with the city (except coming in to work, making a once interesting place diverse and partially wild, into a bland arena slowly lacking of thought and creativity. (you may say, at least the wonderful old houses are being saved unlike detroit, which is true.)
truly worth watching, makes the things going on here in the Central District seems like Child’s Play.
Still doesn’t answer my question about The Elephant.
Where exactly was this “true documentary” about the CD filmed?
Spiffy, did you bother pressing play on the video? There’s literally 2 seconds of generic “Seattle” footage. The rest of it is clearly shot in the CD, if you can tell where it was shot at all. It’s not the film maker’s fault that YouTube uses whatever’s on screen at the 50% mark as the still.
I know part of it was filmed in my parking lot. From the trailer it looks like a most was filmed around the CD with a few “Seattle” shots like Elephant. Of course the Elephant kind of hurt my feelings that it wasn’t Sea Suds.
Article says, “The film, which is scheduled for release this summer, also looks at ‘tension between young African-American men, Ethiopian immigrants and gay couples in Seattle’s Central District.'”
I’d say 90% of the young African-American men, Ethopian immigrants and gay couples I’ve met in the CD are more compassionate, tolerant and friendly than the ones depicted in this docu-drama. Seems like a worst case scenario.
It’ll be a miracle if they (the film makers) get this right. Hoping for the best.
At least somebody is bringing to light what happens in this neighborhood. Some of us CHOOSE to live here some of us have been born and raised here. Good job to the director of this movie for being proud of his community regardless of it’s good points or its bad points. I choose to live here I’ve had the option of moving out and I chose to pay higher rent to stay in the neighborhood because of it’s diversity, culture and really what I believe to be one of the most community oriented areas of Seattle. Best of Luck Rafael and Keep On Doing what you do CD.
As in most movies taken from true stories I think they will take the action of hatred, drugs, and anger and show that because it will sell. They will not show our neighborhood clean ups, our work on getting a park and naming it after a great African American,and our neighborhood block parties. Many of us of different cultures and backgrounds have worked hard to make this a safe and welcoming community. In my 21 years of living here I have seen many of senior neighbors pass on and their children who had moved out and moved to start their new lifes either return and live back in the neighborhood or sell their families home. We can ask why and get various answers yet the one that this movie will pick up on will probably be that families were pushed out. I love my neighborhood and I love most of my neighbors, I have raised my son here where he made friends with many kids in the neighborhood and no movie will take that away from me
I photographed (as a 360 degree interactive panorama) the memorial (flowers, notes, candles) outside of Philly’s Best back in 2008.
You can view it here:
I fear similar – all I see from that preview was very much an “us against them” black and white story. Hope it dives a little deeper.
Re locations: I saw what I think was Ezell’s (23rd and Jefferson), the mural on the wall of Thompson’s Point of View (23rd and Union), and Catfish Corner at MLK and Cherry.
I’m interested to see this film and I hope the filmakers do get into the complex relationships in our neighborhood, too. I know that we moved here because we appreciate the fact that people actually talk to each other, a lot of people have history in the neighborhood, and our daughter (who’s Ethiopian; my husband and I are white) will grow with a variety of role models. The amount of conflict we’ve seen has been pretty small in comparison to the amount of good we see in other people. I hope the movie is able to acknowledge this fact, too.
Looks like a low-budget “Crash:” a lot of yelling, some melodramatic grimacing. The trailer presents a cynical view of diversity, which seems to amount to putting people next to each other & watching them explode. My (multi-colored) neighbors get on my nerves, too, but we do as Seattlites do–we politely suck it up and still speak to one another.
The movie “Crash” was monumental step forward and was general story for the general public. It had all the charms and delicacies of a Hollywood blockbuster. Like a straight shot of sugar to the veins, that film made thinking about racism and prejudice good enough for quick absorption.
The film “23rd & Union” magnifies aspects of life’s minute experiences that affect can anyone. The film illustrates small daily injustices and civil perpetrations committed by everyday people. This representation makes “23rd & Union” punch-you-in-the-face wake-up call. A complicated true story told with vigor and heat, the film blatantly brings forth America’s secret of prejudice. Here in Washington state racism and prejudice are covert. To keep smiling and politely sucking it up, only fuels social segregation – SO I guess keep it up! As long as we can remain socially segregated we can still hate each other.
The depictions and visuals in this trailer are a great, brief representation of the “story” behind the lens. I remember the TRUE story that this was about and it was devestating for the community. There still is a lot of tension between “communities” and the Central District is a zone of convergence where tensions can flair. I believe that this film demonstrates a film-maker’s vision of that convergence in a remarkable way. Rafael Flores is a young film maker with an EXCEPTIONAL talent behind the lens and with the story.
For any of the above commenters that are trying to compare this film to Hollywood Blockbusters, just STOP IT…it is an ignorant comparison. This movie was made with THOUGHT and LOVE for a community. I can’t wait to see the whole movie…GREAT JOB RAFAEL. We will be looking for your name in future Oscar Ceremonies!!!! You can say you heard it here first!
George (member of a depicted community and PROUD)
A brother got shot. So, YES, obviously the film does depict worst case scenario.
Anyone know when and where this film will be screened? besides tonight at 9pm?
So grateful this film got made — THANK YOU!!!
May 4, Central Cinema, 9 p.m.
Always us and them, who ever them is. It is a challenge to look past the outside, beyond style and material culture, and see other people’s concerns, joys, plights as equally real… other people, my equal, with all their good graces and shortcomings…?
I am an invisible straight cracker 6 blocks from the scene of the crime. This movie is real, I see it all the time. There is, however, lots more idiosyncrasy regarding the precise place than can fit into the film,
Somali, Korean, Trans talk to me because they want the money I don’t have. Blacks avoid me cuz’ I look like a cop or government worker, the only gays in the village are always breathing down my neck cuz’ they presuppose I hate them. Mexican’s will greet me if I leer, but they always seem invested elsewhere,
I am guilty too, depending on my mood, of seeing others as characters, obstacles, deviants, competition, props in my personal docudrama or in the way of some get the money scheme.