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FALL 2015:  Sanctuaries in the City

This semester our films explored the idea of sanctuary and refuge. We looked at specific places in the city where individuals gather—away from the immediate economic and social pressures of inner-city living—and together reimagine and reweave the fabric of their community. Our stories live at that intersection of people and place and in those moments when cities come to life.


In Trenton, a city of sometimes meagre resources, these places often demand the creative reworking, reimagining and repurposing of an imperfect reality.  Our sanctuaries exist in positive (if complicated) contrast to the more negative truths and stereotypes of the city. These space are works-in-progress.  Some are the formal creations of municipal or non-profit institutions; others are the products of entrepreneurs and businesspeople; others represent the artistic and cultural life of the city.  These sanctuaries are ongoing, evolving experiments in making Trenton a safer and more liveable city.


Directed by Angélica María Vielma  (2016, 4 min.)

Hundreds of community members and activists hold a rally outside of the statehouse to show their support for a bill that would allow undocumented residents to be issued special driver's licenses. 


Directed by Nick Kim Sexton  (2016, 6 min.)

Rose has been through a lot: much of her family snubbed her for a being a lesbian, she used to be undocumented, and now she’s recovering from a car accident. But her poetry keeps her going.


Directed by Natalie Plonk  (2016, 6 min.)

An enigmatic pastor is portrayed from the perspective of the children he serves.


Directed by Jessica Lu  (2016, 6 min.)

Two men who are patrons of the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen and its art programs tell about the importance of music in their lives. They describe how they have centered their lives on music as a passion, ambition, and career.


Directed by Melanie Ho  (2016, 6 min.)

Graffiti follows Lauren Otis, an artist in Trenton, and Elijah Dixon, a community organizer, as they give their opinions on Trenton and the art that has been created in communities. The impact of art as a tool for revitalization for cities is seen, literally and figuratively.


Directed by Taimur Ahmad and Ellie Nishikawa Fu (5 min)

Andres Lomi works for the city of Trenton.  He helps low-income residents repair their homes, and ultimately create spaces where families can live healthily and invigorate their communities.  This documentary explores what it means to recreate a home, and in doing so recreate a city.


Directed by Kyle Berlin  (2016, 6 min.)

A pair of hands, a flattened water bottle. A stirring call, a steady hum. The sacred, the profane. A church, a city. A community. Where God Is is an ambitious film that looks for the sanctuary all around us.


Directed by Tiffani Chanroo  (2016, 6 min.)

The story of community activist Elijah Dixon demonstrates the importance of creating community spaces for self-expression and art in the forgotten areas of the city of Trenton.


Directed by Ana DeJesus  (2016, 6 min.)

How an artist’s contagious love of bikes brought him to the high school students of the Trenton Bike Exchange.


Directed by Roan Gideon  (2016, 7 min.)

Daná and Alexus work as the first two female mechanics of the Trenton Bike Exchange, fixing broken-down bicycles after school for community resale. Repairing bicycles from start to finish, the two find comfort in their friendship, the shop, and the bicycles, yet face another challenge commonly found in bike shops.


Directed by Gwyndolyn Goldfeder   (2016, 7 min.)

Trenton 250, a new master plan for the City of Trenton, goes beyond the average requirements of bureaucracy. Instead, Trenton 250 creates a space for the community to reflect on the city, explore the things they love about the city, and imagine the future of Trenton.

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