Open/Closed: exploring vacant property in St. Louis (April 18-23) will kick off with an exclusive sneak peek of the documentary film Spanish Lake. The screening will offer extended clips of the film in progress and will open the Shuttered Film Fest, a series of films focused on issues related to vacancy and urban change. Spanish Lake native and director Phillip Andrew Morton and producer Matt Jordan Smith will attend and lead an open discussion following the screening. Shuttered will feature four films and Open/Closed will present five days of panel discussions and presentations. Additional details to be released. Visit Open/Closed 2011 to review last year’s event.
Tivoli Theatre, 6350 Delmar Boulevard TBA
Date/Time: Wednesday, April 18 / 7:30 p.m.
Coverage by Thomas Crone for St. Louis Magazine: “Open/Closed Conference Gives St. Louis a Peek at Doc-in-Progress, ‘Spanish Lake’”
Phillip Andrew Morton has made two trips since 2007 to the house at 1238 Maple Street where he grew up. On both occasions, he was shocked at the profound changes the little frame house had undergone in a matter of a few years.
Morton, 32, is now an independent filmmaker based in Los Angeles. The rapid transformation of the north St. Louis County community he calls his hometown, though it has never been incorporated, forms the basis of his documentary, “Spanish Lake.”
“I really wanted to research all the dynamics that went into the phenomenon of white flight in Spanish Lake,” Morton said in a recent telephone interview from Los Angeles. “I came away convinced that this is not an issue of race but of class and opportunities.”
Morton said he hoped the movie will start discussions nationwide on white flight and the effects of government-subsidized housing on neighborhoods.
Alex Ihnen – Open/Closed and Shuttered Film Fest
Matt Jordan Smith – Producer, Spanish Lake
Phillip Andrew Morton – Director, Spanish Lake
Open/Closed is an opportunity for local and regional stakeholders, leaders, artists, and activists to recognize unique experiences and lived knowledge about urban change while developing collaborative community responses. St. Louis faces many challenges, but none are more visceral than the thousands of vacant buildings and lots that have a corrosive effect on our community. With one in five addresses currently vacant, the issue cannot be ignored. This challenge demands accountable governance, democratic thinking and inclusive dialogue. This is the route to action.
Open/Closed is made possible by the North Newstead Neighborhood Association, The Handbuilt City, Preservation Research Office and nextSTL.com.