Spring 2013: Home and Housing
Trenton is a small city with big dreams. In the last century, industry and immigration made it a vibrant and promising home. But the collapse of manufacturing and decades of struggle have tarnished Trenton’s prospects. Today, policymakers, community leaders, and concerned citizens in New Jersey’s capital are searching for new ways to sustain lives, build community, and spark opportunity. Trentonians themselves bring energy, insight and heart to the task, grappling every day with urban problems that have no easy solutions. They make homes in a city many say is unfixable.
Documentary film adds a different voice to the public discussion of these issues. The student film projects for the Spring semester of 2013 focused on home, housing and urban development in Trenton. Students were introduced to facets of the topic through the class’s institutional partners. In the field, they collaborated in small teams to find stories, interview subjects and shoot observational footage. (We’ve included the full content of their interviews on this site.)
Ultimately, each student’s experience found voice in a short film. Together these micro-documentaries begin to form a mosaic portrait of the city and the issues it faces. The students’ work is not only a study of this complex topic but also an exploration of the power – and challenges – of the documentary form.