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Living Los Sures, the expansive documentary project by UnionDocs launches at NYFF Convergence.

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Los Sures (1984), the nearly lost,
now restored, film for a 30th
Anniversary Screening.


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Brooklyn, NY (September 8th, 2014)-
UnionDocs, the Center for Documentary Art based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, announced launch of the multi-platform, participatory documentary project Living Los Sures alongside the 30th anniversary screening of the restorated film that was its inspiration, Los Sures (1984) by Diego Echeverria. A series of local events in September will lead up to the premiere on Saturday, September 27th, which is presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center as part of their upcoming Convergence series at the New York Film Festival. Living Los Sures is an expansive project, conceived by UnionDocs Founder, Christopher Allen, that reframes and remixes the documentary about the Southside neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, locally known as Los Sures. In production for four years and open to future iteration, it currently involves the work of over 40 documentary artists from UnionDocs Collaborative Studio and the participation of over 100 members of the longstanding Southside community.

In the late 70s and early 80s, Los Sures was one of the poorest neighborhoods in New York City. In fact, it had been called the worst ghetto in America. The film Los Sures skillfully represents the challenges of this time; drugs, gang violence, crime, abandoned real estate, racial tension, single parent homes, and inadequate local resources. Yet, Echeverria’s portrait also celebrates the vitality of this largely Puerto Rican and Dominican community, showing the strength of their culture, their creativity and their determination to overcome a desperate situation.

The Reserve Film and Video Collection of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts has recently restored Los Sures for theatrical exhibition just in time for the film’s 30th anniversary.

Los Sures today is 45% Latino. The median income is under $32,000. It is also one of the most rapidly gentrifying places in the country. Located in this neighborhood for close to a decade, UnionDocs took the film from 1984 as the point of departure for their expansive documentary project Living Los Sures. This multi-platform work reframes the neighborhood today through an impressive collection of award-winning new short documentaries and an interactive feature called 89 Steps, which reconnects to one of the primary characters from the film Los Sures, Marta Avíles, at a pivotal point in her life. The project also remixes Echeverria’s film with memories, images, videos and stories gathered through the participation of long-standing local residents in an online platform called Shot by Shot. On Friday, September 19th, a free outdoor screening in Havemeyer Park presented by El Puente and the NYFF, will give a local sneak peak of the interactive elements and highlight some of the best short films produced for the project. Through this inventive portrait, Living Los Sures brings together the remarkable past and present of a very unique place, and offers a rich and collaborative study of a strong urban community striving for sustainability against forces of displacement.

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Schedule of events:

Friday, September 19th, 7:30p
– Free outdoor screening.

UnionDocs and El Puente, with support from NYFF and Rooftop Films, host a free outdoor screening in the Williamsburg’s scenic Havemeyer Park on Kent St and South 4th St. The program will highlight some of the best short documentaries produced over the past four years for Living Los Sures.

More info.

Saturdays, September 13th & 20th
– Street Festival

At El Puente’s Southside Connex community street festival in Williamsburg, UnionDocs will open a booth where locals can test out some of the interactive elements of Living Los Sures. The street festival will take place from 1:00p to 6:00p on Havemeyer Street between Grand Street and South 4th Street.

More info.

Saturday, September 27th, 1:30pm
– Interactive Presentation

Join Christopher Allen, and key members of the Living Los Sures creative team for the premiere of two interactive elements, 89 Steps and Shot by Shot.

More info.

Saturday, September 27th: 8:00pm
– Screening /  Presentation

Returning to the NYFF after 30 years, the restored 16mm print of Los Sures will screen preceded by a brief presentation of Living Los Sures. Q&A to follow with Diego Echeverria, Christopher Allen, and 3 of the main subjects from the 1984 film. Los Sures restored by and 16mm print courtesy of the Reserve Film and Video Collection of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

More info.

Open daily 9am-9pm through October 5th
– Gallery Exhibition

Six of the more experimental short documentary projects from Living Los Sures are installed at Fordham University’s Ildiko Butler Gallery.

More info.
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[su_accordion][su_spoiler title=”ABOUT UNIONDOCS” ]

UnionDocs (UnDo) is a Center for Documentary Art that generates and shares big ideas. We bring together a diverse community of experimental media-makers, dedicated journalists, critical thinkers, and local partners on a search for urgent expressions of the human experience, practical perspectives on the world today, and compelling visions for the future. We find powerful, thought-provoking works of non-fiction (film, video, sound, photography, oral history, printed word, and performance) and present over one hundred public events each year, attracting people from across and beyond New York City. In designing collaborative projects, we bring together 20th Century documentary practice and contemporary networked culture through the UnDo Collaborative Studio, a ten-month fellowship program that seeks to bring together individual talents, voices, and stories and create multi-dimensional documentaries.UnionDocs was founded in the Southside of Williamsburg, Brooklyn and has operated there for nearly a decade.

[su_spoiler title=”ABOUT NYFF CONVERGENCE” ]

Focusing on the intersection of technology and storytelling, NYFF Convergence offers audiences and creators the unique opportunity to experience a curated selection of some of the most exciting immersive storytelling projects being produced today. Jenkins will focus his address (“A Brief History of Transmedia Worlds”) on world-building in the contemporary entertainment landscape, as it applies to film, as well as exploring the worlds of games, online content, books, etc.

Previewing the keynote address, Henry Jenkins said, “Today’s films, television series, games, comics, novels, and even documentaries and journalism rely heavily on the concepts of world-building and world-mapping. In this talk, I will provide a conceptual map for understanding what we mean by ‘worlds,’ what roles they are playing in the production and consumption of popular media, how thinking in terms of worlds involves a shift from more traditional focuses on character and narrative, and why this concept has gained such traction in an era of networked communication and transmedia entertainment.”

[su_spoiler title=”ABOUT EL PUENTE”]

El Puente is a community human rights institution that promotes leadership for peace and justice through the engagement of members (youth and adult) in the arts, education, scientific research, wellness and environmental action. Founded in 1982 by Luis Garden Acosta, El Puente currently integrates the diverse activities and community campaigns of its Center for Arts and Culture and its Green Light District & Community Wellness Program within its four neighborhood Leadership Centers, and its nationally recognized public high school, the El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice. Organizing in North Brooklyn and beyond, El Puente remains at the forefront of community/youth learning and development issues and as such, initiates and impacts social policy both locally and nationally.

[su_spoiler title=”ABOUT SOUTHSIDE CONNEX”]

Southside Connex is an annual two-day community street festival in Los Sures (Southside of Williamsburg) co-produced by El Puente Green Light District and Southside Merchants with support from the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. In conjunction with NYC Department of Transportation’s Weekend Walks program, on September 13th and 20th, 1-6PM Havemeyer Street between Grand Street and South 4th Street will be closed to vehicle traffic and filled with cultural activities, health and wellness workshops, environmental justice information & resources, and El Puente’s annual ¡WEPA! Festival for Southside Performing Arts on September 20th. Last year, during its inaugural year, Southside Connex attracted over 1,500 community members, artists, tourists, merchants and young people and is remembered as an event that celebrates the Latino culture of the neighborhood and offers local residents the chance to meet and interact with each other in the streets of Los Sures.