“On Monday, November 14, MAS Context is organizing a conversation coinciding with the month-long online screening of the film The Area. The event will be moderated by Shawhin Roudbari, Assistant Professor in the Environmental Design department at the University of Colorado Boulder, and a founding member of the Spatial Justice Design Collective.
“In this event, Shawhin Roudbari will moderate a discussion about the main ideas behind the film The Area with producer and activist Deborah Payne, and director, producer, and cinematographer David Schalliol. After the conversation, the program will include a Q+A session. Monday November 14, 2022
RSVP for The Area panel discussion at MAS CONTEXT
“Between November 1 and November 30, 2022, MAS Context is hosting the digital screening of The Area, a documentary filmed over six years in Chicago. The feature-length film made its world premiere at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and has screened on America ReFramed and PBS.
“Inside the Englewood neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago is a small middle-class community surrounded by railroad tracks. ‘The area’ was a destination for many Black Americans arriving from the South during the Great Migration of the mid-20th century. Homes, wealth, and memories have been handed down from generation to generation.
“Despite decades of redlining, divestment, and the 2007 foreclosure crisis, nearly half of families own their homes outright—but the expansion of the nearby freight yard threatens the community and all it has built.
“When the train company representatives told Deborah Payne that her South Side Chicago neighborhood would be demolished to build a freight yard, she vowed to be ‘the last house standing.’ A thirty-year resident of the Englewood community, she had raised generations of neighborhood children alongside her own, forging deep friendships and traditions in this Black American community surrounded by the tracks.
“The Area is the five-year odyssey of her neighborhood, where more than 400 Black American families are being displaced by a multi-billion dollar freight company. As their community is literally being torn apart, residents maintain friendships and traditions while fighting for the respect they deserve. Through their experiences, the film weaves an all-too-real story about the disproportionate harm that structural racism has done to Black communities, while illustrating the hope and promise neighbors find in one another as they fight for their home.”