The Richmond Reclamation Project

The Reclamation Project is an interactive, cross-platforms, site-specific documentary film highlighting memories of African American residents in Richmond, Virginia from before, during, and after the Civil Rights Movement. The project features oral histories showcasing memories and experiences of its aging African-American population across eras of profound social change; and blends traditional oral history techniques and documentary filmmaking with twenty-first century platforms for historically relevant sense of place.

Interview with Director s/n (Jennida Chase & Hassan Pitts)

 

Why are you making this project?

We are making this project because for many years we lived in Richmond, Virginia, Which was the capital of the Confederacy—which tried to secede from the United States of America, causing our Civil War in the 1800s. The city continued to have serious racial issues through the Jim Crow era, through the Civil Rights era and on up through today.  We lived in the historically black neighborhood of Jackson Ward, which in its heyday was considered the Harlem of the South. 

There are many large scale monuments to Confederacy leaders all over Richmond, and very few to commemorate the many achievements of African Americans from the city. The demographics of Richmond is also predominantly African American.  We decided to create a digital, locative documentary to sing some of the unsung songs of people who made sacrifices and profound strides towards equality within our culture.  They are truly worth memorializing!  

Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?

We think there are concentric circles of audiences for the project. Obviously the community sharing the memories will be directly impacted. Then anyone interested in the Civil Rights Movement in America would find the project really interesting and inspiring. And finally, those interested in exploring different ways of presenting documentary content will appreciate the juxtaposition of location based story telling.

How do personal and universal themes work in your film?

We think the individual stories are really touching and it is profound to listen to the struggles and achievements of others.  On one end you are listening to one person’s story and by the end you are listening to stories of people who inhabit a city thereby creating a much more compelling history of place and contributing to a greater sense of how personal connects to the concept of universal.

How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?

The project has changed a little as we have learned more and as technology has continued to quickly develop and advance.

The Richmond Reclamation Project

The Richmond Reclamation Project

What type of feedback have you received so far?

We have not released the project, but have been semi-finalists for a couple of large scale grants and others have told us that the project is inspiring and to keep up the good work etc.…

Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?

The encouragement has been really nice, actually.

What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?

S/N truly endeavors to be a signal rising through the noise.  We hope to inspire further conversation. Thematic undercurrents in our work often deal with the task of interacting with social constructs as it relates to race and gender, and how both of them relate to each other and their supposed place within society. We share a fascination with hidden, overlooked and unconsidered histories, and approach themes of relational interaction with the deliberation to undermine and subvert negative social constructs, in order to uncover fresh possibilities.  We believe that activating good conversation is the precursor to positive change.   

Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?

Producers, Film festival directors, journalists, distributors… maybe starting with journalists!

The Richmond Reclamation Project

The Richmond Reclamation Project

What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?

The spirit and purpose of this work is that we might facilitate dialog. Within the US major issues around race are rising to the forefront. We believe this is happening all over the world. Sometimes tough conversations come out of being inspired by what others have already overcome!

What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?

What if the voices of every day extraordinary citizens would not be forgotten and did not fade away?  What if those voices and their stories could exist and be accessed amidst the geography where the events took place?  How would this change our own relationship to the past, present, and future?

Race is still a hot button topic all over the world. Asking for people to respond to what they see is important to us. That people young and old, and from all parts of our society are able to see, be inspired and hopefully address the strength and resilience of others with pride. To support others within the community and on a global scale, these are serious goals of ours. 

Would you like to add anything else?

http://richmondreclamationproject.com/ 

What are the key creatives developing or working on now?

We are still in post-production on this project.

 

Interview: January 2017

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 We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us?  More info: Carmela

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The Richmond Reclamation Project

A mobile-platform, site-specific documentary for the 21st Century, from the acutely relevant perspectives of aging African-American citizens beginning in Richmond, Virginia.

Project Summary:

The Reclamation Project is an interactive, cross-platforms, site-specific documentary film highlighting memories of African American residents in Richmond, Virginia from before, during, and after the Civil Rights Movement. The project features oral histories showcasing memories and experiences of its aging African-American population across eras of profound social change; and blends traditional oral history techniques and documentary filmmaking with twenty-first century platforms for historically relevant sense of place.

Length: dimensions vary

Director: s/n (Jennida Chase & Hassan Pitts)

About the writer, director and producer:

S/N is a interdisciplinary art group, which works with video, sound, animation, photography and locative media. Members include Jennida Chase and Hassan Pitts who crossed paths in 2007 while attending graduate school at Virginia Commonwealth University, and have been creating collaborative work since 2008. Their works have been exhibited and screened internationally in various festivals, galleries and museums including Hong Kong Art Fair, Pekin Fine Arts, DAS Weekend and the Freies Museum in Berlin. In 2014 were finalists for the MacArthur Grant in Documentary Film. In 2015 S/N were awarded the William A. Minor Grant and in 2016 received the Pollination Seed Grant.

Key cast:

Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists):

festival directors, journalists, distributors

Funders: 

CultureWorks Innovation Grant

Virginia Commonwealth University

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

William Minor Grant

Seed Pollination Grant

Made in association with: 

WIP Media

Release date:

Summer of 2017

Where can I watch it in the next month?

We hope to release the project this coming summer.