I am currently searching for members of the South Boston community who would like to share their story about how Whitey impacted their life. With the impending film scheduled to be released this summer, I am hoping to produce a series of short films of Southie residents sharing their experience in their voice.
This is not an attempt to capitalize on the sensationalism of Whitey’s personal story, but an effort to provide an outlet for those who feel that their voice has not yet been heard.
If you feel that you know someone who might be a good candidate, please pass this post along. For skeptics out there, I encourage you to reach out to me, and I will show you my film about busing in South Boston free of charge.
I am unable to attend the meeting regarding the demolition of 928 East Broadway due to work, however I wanted to contribute to the discussion in some way. Like many others, I believe that the building should be preserved. I am a life-long South Boston resident, and the house is on the same block as mine. I have many anecdotes of watching the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in front of that house, and admiring it from my kitchen window, hoping that someday I would have a home like that, however I don’t believe that familiarity is an effective argument in this situation.
I consider myself to be somewhat of a South Boston historian. My family has lived in Southie since 1834. The home that they bought on L and 2nd Street still stands today. My great-great grandfather dug the cellars of my current home, and my great-great uncle owned a barroom where The Playwright stands today. My family’s story in the community has given me such an appreciation for its history that I produced a documentary about South Boston’s part in the busing crisis of the 1970’s – an era that deeply impacted my aunts, uncles, parents and grandparents.
While all of this background may seem disjointed, I bring it up for one reason: South Boston’s history has a critical point in it’s timeline; BB and AB (Before Busing and After Busing). Since 1974 South Boston’s narrative has had consistent themes and images that reflect negatively on its inhabitants. It is difficult to speak of the positive attributes of South Boston’s tight-knit community without hearing an argument about the violent actions that were displayed by some community members during desegregation. When I think about the mansion at 928 East Broadway, I see a representation of South Boston’s past that is not so tainted by the images of racist signs and rocks flying through the air.
When I hear people talk about how this building must be preserved, I feel that they are also fighting to preserve a part of South Boston’s history that represents the good of the community. I’m not saying that Southie’s history before busing was as virginal as 928 East Broadway’s lilly white facade, but it does represent a time when being from South Boston meant more than whether or not you are racist.
I have heard some argumets that the building is not old enough to be considered historic, but as we forge ahead through the Twenty First Century, we must consider how the speed of technology and communication accelerates development. As a result, we must give these iconic pieces of architecture the protection they need to survive through these real estate booms. I urge you to make a decision in favor of 928 East Broadway not only because it defines the physical community, but also because it is an historic representation of a class and culture that deserve preservation as well.
“the southie movies are getting fuckign annoying man go back to hollywood. all you fools dont realise thsese camrbidge yuppies are making money off of your stories. stop supporting south boston movies unless then done by SOUTH BOSTON PEOPLE not faggots from cambridge and california”
My response went something like this,
“EJ – Thank you for your support. My family has lived in South Boston for 170 years. I’ve lived on 8th Street, Peters Street, Loring Street, behind Osco’s, and shopped at Flanagan’s at every stop. Just because I’m not your friend doesn’t mean I’m not from Southie.
PS: You’re a true credit to the neighborhood. Really fixing that reputation.”
He took his post down rather quickly after that…Then came Monday night…
**This is an excerpt from my Graduate Thesis Production Book. At this point I was able to reflect of the pre-production, production, and post-production stages of this project, which began in my senior year of high school.**
When I first started graduate school my Auntie Anne told me that it was more about navigating through the system than completing projects and assignments. Now that I am on the “payment due” side of the student loan system, I have one caveat to argue with dear old Auntie Anne. While graduate school does have a fair amount of hurdles, if you have a compelling thesis, it is more of a practice of wading through the one thing that everyone holds so dear: their own opinion. Since I posted my first “test thesis” on YouTube in December of 2010, I have received attention from Boston.com, WGBH Radio, WRKO’s Howie Carr (allegedly), and National Public Radio.
**This was my experience with obtaining rights for my film. While this will probably be very dry for the average reader (of a documentary filmmaker’s website…) I hope this is helpful to new filmmakers who are looking to get their projects ready for distribution.**
Welcome to My Problem
When I started Grad School, my Business of Modern Media professor told us, “You need a piece of paper for every shot, sound, and image you use in your film.” This piece of paper, of course, is a written agreement between the filmmaker and the copyright holder stating that you have permission to include his or her work in your project.
I always wondered: Who do I contact for rights to things? What do I tell them? How much do things cost? There are so many variables to obtaining rights and clearances. It is unfair to expect anyone to give you a step by step process. Nope, the only way to navigate this extremely important phase of film producing is to do it the same way you navigated through high school: Awkwardly, anxious, and with a bit of disdain towards authority.
Luckily for me, my film is mostly based on my family, so I was able to use a lot of old family photos and 8mm footage. However, with my project being an historical documentary, there was no way for me to skirt around images that ran across the front pages of newspapers and defined the forced busing era. When all was said and done I needed the rights to three types of footages: still images, music, and news footage.
I was interviewed by Boston.com yesterday. Check it out here. Thank you to the inspiring amount of email from those who lived during the time. I will be responding to all of you.
Also, thank you to those who commented on the article’s comment page. Whether you agree or disagree with this project, we are starting to talk about issues of race, class, and culture – and that is the true goal.
Boston is famous for the ability of its people to enter into lively and intellectual debate, so bring it on, people!
PS: The debate is more fun over a couple of beers, so meet me at Murphy’s!
In all projects there is a learning curve. I’ve put off showing this video for some time now, because it is amateurish at best. However, I am hoping that you will be interested in seeing my development aesthetically and narratively. As always, please feel free to provide feedback, and contact me if you have any archival footage, information, or even if you would like to be interviewed.