Hypergentrification and “Class Divide”
In September Michon Boston Group Ltd brought together HBO Documentaries and Urban Institute for an extended preview and discussion about the documentary Class Divide . Class Divide is a timely look at the widening divide between the “haves” and the “have nots” through the microcosm of NYC’s West Chelsea neighborhood, where an elite private school shares an intersection with low-income public housing. (The film premiered on HBO October 3, 2016 and is available on HBO Now.)
Urban Institute president Sarah Rosen Wartell moderated a panel (pictured above) with filmmaker Marc Levin, Oramenta F. Newsome, vice president of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), and Scott Kratz, director, 11th Street Bridge Project. This is the second collaboration between MBG, Urban Institute, and HBO to encourage civic conversations and engagement through film. The event took place in the Gala Hispanic Theatre located in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC — a neighborhood and city experiencing the gentrification themes presented in Class Divide.
Hyisheem Shabazz Calier who appears in Class Divide kicked off the preview with an inspiring introduction. Calier hails from the Chelsea-Elliot housing project. He’s the first in his family to graduate from college and pursue a professional degree. Many of his young neighbors have dreams for achievement and success as this story is told through the perspectives of both sides of the changing neighborhood.
Marc Levin is an award-winning independent filmmaker. His groundbreaking 1998 feature film, Slam, won the Grand Jury Prize for a Dramatic Film at the Sundance Film Festival and the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Levin produced Brick City, a Peabody Award–winning and twice Emmy-nominated documentary series about Newark, New Jersey, that follows mayor Cory Booker and people on the front lines of a city struggling to change. Levin partnered with Robert Redford of Sundance Productions on Chicagoland, a CNN documentary series that premiered in March 2014 to great critical acclaim and was nominated for a 2014 International Documentary Association award for Best Limited Series. Levin has made 15 films for HBO, including Class Divide.