above picture, director PHILLIP ANDREW MORTON in Spanish Lake, 1985
I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the summer of 1986 in Spanish Lake, Missouri, and one of my classmates was moving away. Our parents carpooled us to school, and I was saddened to hear that they were leaving. They lived in a big two-story brick house, much nicer than most of the houses on the block. To add to my confusion, they were only moving a few miles away, so why would they leave our neighborhood?
It wasn’t until the early 1990’s that I sensed what was really happening when my best friend at the time informed me that his parents were putting their house up for sale, because of the “n****** moving in.” It was racist paranoia: I’d had nothing but peaceful relations with the black families in the area.
In 1994, the first black family moved into my subdivision. The reaction from the neighbors was mixed. The family across the street gossiped incessantly about it, immediately planning to list their house for sale. A year later, another black family moved into the neighborhood, but nothing changed. However, by 1996, realtors were placing their flyers on everyone’s doorstep to incite fear among the residents, and the “For Sale” signs began to multiply across the town. By 2000, half of Spanish Lake had moved away.
I came back to visit Spanish Lake in 2007. It was a heartbreaking, emotional experience. The first house I grew up in was abandoned and rundown, as were most of the houses on my street, a result of white flight, foreclosures and a bad economy. My grade school and church were vacant. A once-busy and thriving neighborhood was now so empty and quiet that you could hear a pin drop. I sat in my old backyard and cried, not just for my past, but for the fact that two races still couldn't coincide.
“White flight” has been an assiduous and devastating epidemic in the St. Louis metropolitan area, but for some, it is a very profitable enterprise. This systematic tragedy wipes out valuable history, while simultaneously reinforcing a cultural divide. Now, a new “reverse white flight” is emerging, a tide that shows the white population decamp for the cities they once fled, or begin new ones, to further escape integration. The outer suburbs are crumbling due to the current recession and “reverse white flight,” and they face the fate of the downtown cities forty years ago.
This cycle of segregation begs the questions--not just of the city of St. Louis, but perhaps the nation at large: How far have we come in terms of racial integration and equality? OR... is racism an inherent and irreparable human flaw? Is there anything wrong with wanting to live in a neighborhood with only the same race as yourself? And what are the economic and cultural effects for doing so? SPANISH LAKE asks these questions and provides some surprising answers.
- WHY WE NEED YOU TO CONTRIBUTE: A lot of hard work has been placed into this project by everyone involved, many have worked for free, solely driven by their passion for the film. We need your help to get this film to the finish line, to help ignite the cultural conversation that SPANISH LAKE will be sure to inspire.
- WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?
- Additional Photography: We still need to shoot more footage for the film. There are more interviews to get and more stories to tell. Flights, equipment, and film crew funds are needed.
- Music Score: No film is complete without a riveting musical score. We need to hire a composer to create music that will complement the film.
- Editing: To complete this film on schedule will require a full time film editor and equipment.
- Sound Mixing: Good sound is essential for a great documentary. We’ve taken extra special care to capture quality audio, but we’ll need the services of a talented sound mixer when the film is completed.
- Color Correction and Mastering: Adjusting the color of the film is a very important part of the film process. It creates the mood and tone for the entire picture. After a film is color corrected, it must be then mastered to tape, which will allow for DVDs to be made.
- Film Festival Entries: We are under the gun to have the film completed in time for submission to the Sundance Film Festival and other festivals this fall. Our first deadline is in September.
- Spreading The Word: SPANISH LAKE still needs an official website and promotional materials.
- WHAT HAPPENS IF THE MONEY ISN'T RAISED IN TIME? If our goal isn’t met before the deadline, we don't receive any of the pledges. Your credit or debit card will not be charged. We don’t want that to happen, so please contribute and spread the word to your friends!
- CAN I INCREASE MY PLEDGE ONCE IT'S BEEN MADE? Yes! Once you donate to our campaign, you may want to change your incentive reward to a different one, or increase your pledge amount.
- CAN WE EXCEED THE GOAL? Yes! Exceeding the goal would help us pay for more of the costs to finish the film. It will also accelerate the speed at which we do so.
- IS MY PLEDGE AMOUNT PUBLICLY DISPLAYED? No. Only you and the project owner will be able to see your pledge amount.
- I'M NOT IN THE US, CAN I STILL PLEDGE? Yes, you can pledge from anywhere.
- WHEN WILL I RECEIVE MY REWARDS FOR CONTRIBUTING? With the exception of the DVD, rewards will be mailed in October, after the film is edited and we are caught up to speed.
- WHEN AND WHERE WILL THE FILM BE SHOWN? We are aiming to premiere this film as part of the Sundance Film Festival in January. As part of their entry rules, we are not allowed to show the film before then. If we are accepted, then we will premiere it there. Screenings will follow across the U.S. shortly thereafter. In the meantime, we will be searching for the right distributor to handle the release. It will most likely be released on DVD sometime next summer.
- HOW CAN I CONTACT YOU? You can send us an email through this Kickstarter website OR you can contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So please join our incredible community of supporters and donate to SPANISH LAKE now. It's an exciting project, and we are so grateful that you are now a part of it!
WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE?
- Our twitter feed is at: http://twitter.com/ - !/@SpanishLakeFilm
- And for more information about Phillip Andrew Morton and his work, check out http://www.phillipandrewmorton.com
- (30 days)