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Image of Rising Above the Tide film
Still from the film Rising Above the Tide.
5/16/24, 5:30pm - 8pm
Center for Architecture
1.5 LU / 1.5 HSW

How can architects be better advocates for a better world? The Reimagining Justice Film Festival will create the opportunity to encounter revolutionary ideas through investigating the history and lived experiences of people as we watch documentaries relating to Justice Reform, Environmental Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. For the 2024 festival, film screenings occur every Thursday in May. 

The third event on May 16 will be feature the documentary Crip Camp – A Disability Revolution by Jim Lebrecht and Nicole Newnham as well as short films Gyo Obata by University of Washington in St. Louis and Rising Above the Tide: Redefining Resilience in Hau’ula by Jake Price, followed by a discussion with the filmmaker Jake Price and educator Jessica Semmel, LMSW, MST.

*Sign Language Translators will be provided

About the films and filmmakers:

Crip Camp – A Disability Revolution, Directors' Note by Jim Lebrecht and Nicole Newnham: "Crip Camp is about the emotional experience of finding community and yourself for the first time and the power of realizing that a better life is possible through social change. Camp Jened, a ramshackle hippie-run summer camp “for the handicapped,” (a term no longer used) was an environment where people with disabilities were treated as equal members of a community, empowered to make their own decisions, and experienced for the first time the fullness of themselves as human beings.

At the camp, late night discussions in the bunk led to revelations of common experiences of oppression. These experiences caused a perspective shift in Jim, and in many of the campers and counselors, that was profoundly liberating. It awakened an understanding that the problem was not them, the problem was an unjust world. This realization would go on to have ripple effects that would change the trajectory of the campers’ lives, the lives of other people with disabilities, people without disabilities, the United States, and eventually the world.

Making Crip Camp has been a unique collaboration: between a man and a woman, disabled and non-disabled, a first-time director and a veteran filmmaker. Our respective perspectives pushed on each other and produced a fuller human narrative. We made Crip Camp through partnership and built our own community in the making of this film. As you host a screening, we ask you to pay heed to this central theme in the film – the importance of lifting voices that don’t often get heard and building community. Seek out the stories from your community that haven’t been told. In your discussions, make extra space for the voices of activists and advocates who are currently working to drive change. Finally, we urge all of you to take action to amplify the voices of people with disabilities, particularly those from intersectionally marginalized communities, and practice the concepts of inclusion and accessibility into your daily lives.

Our hope is that your discussions will spark new thoughts, new behaviors, new actions—and that truly special sense of community that binds us together and lifts us up as one.

Gyo Obata: Washington University in St. Louis alum Gyo Obata's eponymous film talks about his history and how the Japanese internment of WW II and the University's willingness to find a place for college students who lived in the 60 mile exclusion zone on the West coast, landed him at Washington University in St. Louis.

Rising Above the Tide: Redefining Resilience in Hau’ula by Jake Price: For the past 20 years, the nearly 4,100 residents of Hau’ula on Oahu have witnessed rising tides and increasingly powerful storms. In 2020, Hurricane Douglas narrowly missed the small town, passing just 20 miles away. Residents fear they may not be so fortunate with the next major storm. Located on the vulnerable one lane Kamehameha Highway, which is already eroding due to climate change, authorities have warned that in the event of a disaster, Hau’ula and the surrounding towns (totaling around 26,000 people) could be cut off from aid for up to 30 days, as disaster relief efforts focus on the urban areas of Honolulu. Despite these looming threats, Hau’ula and its neighboring communities lack a storm shelter that can keep residents safe.

Rising Above the Tide: Redefining Resilience in Hau’ula chronicles the efforts of the Hau’ula community and architect Illya Azaroff, FAIA, one of the few who has heard and responded to the community's pleas. Filmed during the pandemic and in the aftermath of Hurricane Douglas, the documentary follows Azaroff as he works with the community to develop a grassroots vision for a resilience hub that represents a crucial shift in disaster response, offering communities tailored solutions and fostering resilience in the face of unprecedented challenges.

Too often, the media portrays resilience as a fleeting concept, merely depicting people bouncing back after disasters. However, true resilience transcends mere survival; it's a long-term endeavor nurtured through proactive measures. The film challenges this misconception, asserting that resilience is cultivated through ongoing investment and care. By melding ancient community wisdom with modern science, the documentary showcases the metamorphosis of neglected lands into versatile spaces. 

View the Series Flyer

Jake Price, Producer, Director, Immersive Documentary Creator and Educator
Jessica Semmel, LMSW, MST, retired NYC public school special education teacher, Licensed Social Worker, Meditation Teacher, Reiki Provider, and activist for justice

About the Speaker:
Jake Price is a producer, director, immersive doc creator and educator. Price's films and immersive media convey intimate and poignant stories of the human spirit in demanding times with a focus on how climate change threatens our cultural and ecological systems that have been developed over millennia. His films have screened across the globe including, The New York Film Festival and have been awarded top honors at World Press Photo Foundation. His photographic work appears in The New York Times, TIME, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Orion Magazine, Newsweek, Le Monde II and others throughout the world. His grants and fellowships include, POV, The Economic Hardship Reporting Project and is an Ochberg Fellow at Columbia Universities’ Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. Jake holds an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College in Boston and teaches Visual Narratives at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University as an adjunct professor.

Jessica Semmel, LMSW, MST is a retired NYC public school special education teacher, Licensed Social Worker, Meditation Teacher, Reiki Provider, and staunch activist for justice. The majority of Jessica’s professional career has been working with people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Jessica was a psychiatric social worker for children, ran a group home for medically fragile adults with intellectual disabilities, and was a special educator in the Bronx to children with various disabilities. Jessica also worked as a school social worker and reading specialist in Manhattan. Jessica has a private practice providing counseling, reiki, meditation, and tutoring. 

Jessica graduated with an MSW from SUNY Albany’s Rockefeller College and two decades later, a master's in teaching from Pace University through the New York City Teaching Fellows. 

Jessica is an activist for social justice, including LGBTQIA+ rights, reproductive health, housing justice, anti-genocide, and carceral system reform. She is an active member of Washington Square Park Mutual Aid, every Friday at 5pm in the park. 

Jessica is legally blind due to a degenerative, genetic eye disease and has about 5 degrees of functional vision. Jessica is the mom of a teenager and two cats.

More in the Reimagining Justice Film Festival:
Reimagining Justice Film Festival (1 of 5): Mothers of Bedford
Reimagining Justice Film Festival (2 of 5): 16 Bars
Reimagining Justice Film Festival (4 of 5): TED Talk by JR, Unguarded, and More
Reimagining Justice Film Festival (5 of 5): Rights and Reactions

Organized by:
AIANY Architecture for Justice Committee

Supported by:
AIANY Women in Architecture Committee; AIANY Diversity and Inclusion Committee; AIANY Social Science and Architecture Committee; AIANY Committee on the Environment

Image of Rising Above the Tide film
Still from the film Rising Above the Tide.
5/16/24, 5:30pm - 8pm
Center for Architecture
Group 6 Created with Sketch.


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