Director KATJA ESSON (US 2023) 82 min
Oscar®-nominated director and German-born Miami resident Katja Esson exposes the impact of climate gentrification on a historic African-American community in Miami-Dade County. The demolition of Liberty Square, the oldest segregated public housing project in the US, is paving the way for a $300-million “revitalization” program as developers seek higher ground above rising sea levels. Esson highlights the struggles of three women advocating for their basic rights, and the community’s fears of being displaced once again. The developers hire a “community liaison” to calm concerns, but his reality shifts as he sees promises fall apart. This character-driven narrative weaves together with ensemble interviews, giving the effect of a Greek chorus echoing the history and concerns of Liberty Square residents at large. In Esson’s poignant depiction of the harsh reality faced by today’s new American climate refugees, global warming, housing insecurity, and economic inequality converge.
IN PERSON: Director KATJA ESSON, Film Participants SAMANTHA QUARTERMAN and AARON MCKINNEY | Conversation moderated by JILL TIDMAN, The Redford Center
SUNDAY, MAY 14 • 7:00
THE REDFORD CENTER
KATJA ESSON is a German-American filmmaker based in Miami. Among her previous documentaries are Poetry of Resilience (2011), a nominee for the Berlin-based Cinema for Peace Award, and Ferry Tales (2003), a nominee for the Academy Award®.
|RUNNING TIME:||82 min|
|PRODUCERS:||Katja Esson, Ann Bennett, Corinna Sager, Ronald Baez|
|CINEMATOGRAPHER:||Hector David Rosalez|
|EDITORS:||Flavia de Souza, Susanne Schiebler, Leigh Johnson|
|NOTE WRITER:||Michelle Svenson|
THE WALL VR EXPERIENCE • WORLD PREMIERE
Available to view in the Mark Fishkin Room
Saturday, May 13 • 11:00am – 8:00pm
Sunday, May 14 • Noon – 7:30pm
A companion piece to the feature Razing Liberty Square, The Wall is a 6-minute VR experience, told with an innovative mix of immersive, interactive and documentary storytelling about the first public housing project in the South: Miami’s Liberty Square. Crafted from personal reflections and childhood memories of the elders about the 6 foot segregation wall (the remnants are still visible today), it engages users to viscerally experience life behind that wall in the 1940s. Juxtaposing the innocent perception of children with the insight of the elders provides users an intimate perspective on the lingering issues surrounding race, place and belonging that continue to this day.
IN PERSON: VR Creative Producer RONALD BAEZ