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By Quirino de la Cuesta
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About this project

Broad Minded City is a full-feature length documentary film exploring how cities are changing towards a new paradigm in which nature is integrated into the urban fabric. And, it highlights the challenges that cities face towards a sustainable future.

The film is loosely based on Frank Lloyd Wright’s urban model "Broadacre City," which is considered to be the genesis of today's urban sprawl. It investigates the concept of Broadacre and the misconceptions from planners and critics, who believed that it was “sprawl.” The film also explores Los Angeles as a case-study in which a city is transforming itself from a car ’centric, low density landscape to a trans-modal, multi-layered community.

Broadacre City model by Frank Lloyd Wright, Courtesy of Frank Lloyd Wright foundation.
Broadacre City model by Frank Lloyd Wright, Courtesy of Frank Lloyd Wright foundation.

Broadacre City was an urban model concept created by the world-renowned American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. From 1932-1958, Wright worked tirelessly to create new ways of building cities by spreading outward into the landscape and integrating them to be part of nature.

Part of the film is focused on Broadacre City from many testimonies and personal accounts by former associates and fellows of the Taliesin Fellowship, including Eric Lloyd Wright, the grandson of Frank Lloyd Wright, explaining the purposes of building the concept model of Broadacre City and today's challenges in moving forward to a sustainable society.

Eric Lloyd Wright
Eric Lloyd Wright

The greater Los Angeles area—34,000 square miles of sprawl looking for its center—is also the focus of this film as a way to understand the geo-political, social and the built landscape that has influenced other cities in the past with suburbia. It spotlights how Los Angeles is going through a transition of communities, mobility, environmental impact, identity and the role of architecture and design.

The people interviewed in the film are a wide variety of experts in the field of urban theory, architecture, planning, public art, landscape architecture, sustainability, transportation and community activism. Here are some of interviewees:

  • Mia Lehrer (Landscape Architect/ Mia Lehrer & Associates)
  • Jeff Stein (Architect/ President of Arcosanti)
  • Jennifer Siegal (Architect/ Office of Mobile Architecture)
  • Michael Maltzan (Architect/ Michael Maltzan Architecture)
  • Lewis MacAdams (Activist/ Poet/ Friends of the LA River)
  • Dan Sturges (transportation designer/ OuiCreate, LLC)
  • Sam Lubell (Architecture writer & critic/ Architect's Newspaper)
  • Linda Dishman (Executive Director/ Los Angeles Conservancy)
  • Dave Meiger (Deputy Executive Officer & Countywide Planner/ Metro LA)
  • Michael Rotondi (Architect/ Roto Architects)
  • Refugio "Cuco" Ceballos (Activist/ South Central Farmers)
  • Linda Dishman (Director of Los Angeles Conservancy)
Michigan Central Station by Warren & Wetmore and Reed and Stem (1913)
Michigan Central Station by Warren & Wetmore and Reed and Stem (1913)

The documentary also takes a turn to the city of Detroit, where we look at the circumstances that the area is experiencing and the redefinition of Detroit from turmoil. There we look at the Dorothy Turkel House, the only second story Usonian house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and how it has been impacted. There is something to learn from Detroit by the way it is reimagining, preserving the area and moving forward.

Dorothy Turkel Residence by Frank Lloyd Wright (1955)
Dorothy Turkel Residence by Frank Lloyd Wright (1955)

This film has taken an enormous amount of time and traveling to document a subject matter that hasn’t really explored in terms of history, transition, impact and appreciation of cities like Los Angeles and any other city moving forward on the conditions that cities are dealing with as far as sustainability and identity.

First Trailer of Broad Minded City

 Latest version of Broad Minded City.

The documentary, Broad Minded City, is moving forward into post-production and we need your help to finish the documentary and bring it to schools, film festivals and screenings. We are offering incentives if you can afford just 5 dollars or more, but any contribution is welcome no matter what dollar amount is donated. We have Broad Minded City posters, postcards, DVDs, T-shirts and other incentives to make this campaign successful. We also ask you to spread the word about this documentary, which is an important subject manner to discuss and hopefully change how we design our cities.

Thank you for your interest.

Quirino de la Cuesta

Broad Minded City T-shirt, modeled by Treasa McNamee
Broad Minded City T-shirt, modeled by Treasa McNamee
Broad Minded City decal and Quasimotor Productions bumper stickers
Broad Minded City decal and Quasimotor Productions bumper stickers

Risks and challenges

The major concern for finishing the film is funding. From post-production to obtaining rights content, there are risks of not being able to complete the project. Much of the filming and interviews are 90% complete and we have projected the funding in order to obtain rights for all the archival images, music and media footage, and to ensure the staff is being paid for their services to complete this documentary.

Most importantly, we want to shine a different light on Frank Lloyd Wright's work on Urbanism with Broadacre City in comparison to Los Angeles.

The film was extremely challenging with four years of researching and documenting a region of 18 million people living in the greater Los Angeles area, and how this multifaceted and diversed city is moving forward toward sustainability despite evident climate change and population growth.

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    All of the aforementioned rewards, plus a private screening in Los Angeles and a meet-up with the interviewees. (Invitation is supplied by filmmakers, not travel, accommodations or any other costs.) Plus limited edition poster signed by the filmmakers and interviewees, and your name on the Kickstarter film credit and website.

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    All of the aforementioned rewards; plus an “associate-producer” film credit in the film. (Please be advised that this “associate producer” credit is purely honorary in nature and does not entitle the holder to any rights to the film whatsoever.)

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    All of the aforementioned rewards including an “associate producer” credit. Plus, you will also receive a special Blu-Ray copy with different outtakes of the interviews. (Please be advised that this “associate producer” credit is purely honorary in nature and does not entitle the holder to any rights to the film whatsoever.)

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    All of the aforementioned rewards, plus “Executive Producer” in the film's credits. And, 4 passes to a special screening in Los Angeles at a well-known location and dinner with the filmmaker and interviewees (transportation and accommodations to Los Angeles not included). (Please be advised that this “executive producer” credit is purely honorary in nature and does not entitle the holder to any rights to the film whatsoever.).

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Funding period

- (33 days)