Los Angeles Filmforum presents South Main – A Documentary Film by Kelly Parker ** Los Angeles premiere!**
Kelly Parker, Latisha Fikes, Tajuana Green in person as schedules permit
Sunday February 8, 2009, 7:00 pm
At the Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd. at Las Palmas
Wednesday February 11, 2009, 6:30 and 8:30 pm
At KAOS Network 4343 Leimert Blvd. at 43rd Place (2 blocks east of Crenshaw Blvd.)
SOUTH MAIN (2008, 77 minutes, video) is an intimate portrait of three single African American mothers as they struggle to raise their families and regain their lives after a government imposed relocation and closure of their apartment complex in South Los Angeles.
Produced, directed, and edited by Kelly Parker With: Latisha Fikes, Tajuana Green, Tena McConico.
Parker delves into a largely unseen section of our city focusing a clear eye upon the travails of three women, cast with their families out of an apartment complex deemed unsafe in 2004 by the government due to the local gang activity. The tactic chosen by our city to diffuse this gang activity: demolish the complex and force all the families to find new residences. As we begin a new presidency and hear calls for reborn political and community activity, this is the sort of film that must be seen so we can gain an understanding of the problems being confronted. But the film is no mere propaganda or liberal plea. In her locked off shots and long takes, Parker imparts the dignity of the women and the range of their difficulties, as they stave off homelessness and confront the mindless violence that wracks their neighborhood. Superb filmmaking, the kind that raises the viewer’s consciousness and should be viewed by all Angeleños.
South Main premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 2008 and has screened at The London Film Festival, The Shadow Documentary Film Festival, Detroit Docs IFF and Creteil International Women’s Film Festival. More at http://www.southmainfilm.com/
“Parker observes their struggles to recreate their lives with rigor, compassion and complicity. Her static camera self-consciously creates ‘a space of time filled with moving,’ as Gertrude Stein once defined cinema. There are not great revelations, just moments of great intensity and great beauty as in a Pedro Costa film.” – Thom Andersen
“An unblinking, deeply resonant look at three women and their families navigating a government-imposed relocation in an underprivileged section of Los Angeles, confident docu “South Main” marbles furious rigor with streaks of clear-eyed compassion…”- Eddie Cockrell, Variety
“No lurid wallowing in myths of the ghetto, no conjuring up of the “social powder-keg,” no social kitsch, but instead a participatory, exact view, concentrating on the women themselves. Precise, strictly framed images result from this, which neither accuse us nor appeal to us, but that simply show. Images from the underclass, telling of poverty and the precarious living conditions on the social periphery. Images from America at the beginning of the 21st century.” -Birgit Kohler, Berlin Film Festival
Three years ago I read an article in the Los Angeles Times about the City of Los Angeles’ plans to close down an apartment complex due to gang violence. The article noted numerous injuries and gang-related deaths at the complex and explained that, despite the dangerous living conditions, the residents didn’t want to move their families out. I moved a lot as a child while being raised by a single mother in government subsidized housing. With few resources, we lived in a state of constant displacement. I could understand why not wanting to move could keep someone in a potentially dangerous place. At this time my mother, who was living in Florida, was in a desperate financial situation and had just been evicted, leaving her homeless. My personal relationship with the struggles of single motherhood mixed with financial instability propelled me into this project. I knew when I started shooting that I didn’t want to fall back on typical or sensationalized images. My goal was to respect and show the reality of the women’s situations, not to romanticize them or push viewers emotionally. I came to realize that the way to make a film about the actuality of their day-to-day lives was to be patient with time, to mediate the footage as little as possible, and to not be judgmental. SOUTH MAIN is about spending time with the families. — Kelly Parker
Kelly Parker lives and works in Los Angeles. After studying Economics and Management Theory at the Hogeschool voor Economics Studies in Rotterdam, she moved back to Detroit, her hometown, to pursue video and new media at the College for Creative Studies. Upon receiving her BFA in 2003, she was commissioned by the German Federal Cultural Foundation to make a film about mobility in Detroit for the Shrinking Cities exhibition, an ongoing academic and artistic investigation into postindustrial, decaying urban regions. The resulting short documentary, Coda Motor City, 2004, has been shown at museums and galleries such as, the Kunst-Werke in Berlin, the Pratt-Manhattan Gallery in NYC, and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions. SOUTH MAIN, Parker’s first feature was completed during her studies at California Institute of the Arts, where she received an MFA in 2008.