Amelia Carter  – Media Arts – Group 2, Round 2 Awardee

An experimental documentary film project exploring the spirit of a fast changing neighborhood.

Impact Statement

This film project embodies critical changes in my approach to community organizing. It uses self-contemplation, not outside action, as a mechanism for sparking transformation. Being able to move forward with this project would provide an opportunity to facilitate the community in an exercise of reflecting, reimagining, and relationship rebuilding after a tumultuous period that caused deep scars on the corridor. Although the act of making the film would facilitate this process through interviews, the impact campaign around the film will truly hold the mirror and produce the dialogue we seek.

We plan to work with groups like cinéSPEAK, PhillyCam, Scribe Video Center, the Paul Robeson House, and the West Philadelphia Landscape Project to host screenings of the film. Other key community groups, churches, and featured businesses will facilitate community conversations. Funding from ArtisPHL will be used to pay for costs associated with screenings such as facilitator fees, equipment, and space rental fees.

We also aim to have a direct benefit to the businesses featured in the film. Many of the featured businesses struggle to pay for building repair. We plan to create a crowdfunding campaign at the launch of the project to support these businesses with infrastructural improvements. A portion of the funding from this grant would go towards the making of a crowdfunding video, building the online platform, and paying for the administrative cost of running the campaign and distributing raised funds. Through impact campaigns like Concrete Cowboys, which enabled local Black horseback riding clubs to raise more than $300,000, we see that this strategy can be materially impactful for local communities.

I have personally seen the power of organizing the community around art projects like this one. In the past eight years, I have used film, installation art, and creative programming to engage communities around racial and economic justice. As an example, my art organizing work with Germantown United CDC sustained small minority businesses and inspired the City Council to allocate $2.2 million to a community-led development plan for Maplewood Mall after 50 years of neglect and decades of disinvestment. With Philly Human Rights Appeal, I spearheaded efforts to rally a diverse group of stakeholders around police accountability through art and healing practices. Creative organizing with Penn Community for Justice and our collaborators resulted in Penn’s historic $100 million donation to the School District of Philadelphia. I believe this film project and its impact campaign will have the power to not only inspire the community to organize themselves towards a new future by enabling self-reflection and thoughtful conversation but will also inspire tangible community-directed actions like these.

The Sizzle Reel for this project is below. This is an example of how the proposed 40-minute film project will look and feel using sample footage.

Amelia Carter

View her video