Better Cities Film Festival 2021

March: Vacancy Vortex

Expired April 5, 2021 1:00 AM
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Our March Theme is "Vacancy Vortex"

We've curated a special selection of films that show how vacant lots and properties are being reimagined and reclaimed.


We begin with Covid Didn't Do This which points the lens at the effects of ongoing intentional disinvestment that devastated urban neighborhoods long before Covid made its impact on city life. Then we go to Detroit where locals fight urban blight by casting a vision for new possibilities. Forgiving Earth: Voices from Detroit's Urban Farms introduces us to urban gardeners who are planting new hope for their neighborhood. Then we go to China in Shanghai Transitions which presents the other end of the spectrum. In this short film, tour Shanghai neighborhoods with local Dutch architects as they reflect on the impact of extreme, intense, rapid development. Lastly, we go to Barcelona with Landskating where marginalized urban spaces are reclaimed and redeveloped as skate parks. See how this small scale project brings joy and community to the neighborhoods.

THE FORGIVING EARTH documents the voices of Detroit’s 21st century urban farmers as they toil, against all odds, to transform a bankrupt city into a “green and pleasant land.” Every garden in the city is an autobiography. Each voice in the film tells a singular story of restoring the earth in order to overcome the effects of drug abuse, incarceration, racism, injustice, poverty, or neglect. Ultimately, these voices converge in a chorus of private dreams, public outrage and hopes for Detroit’s regrowth.

  • Year
    2013
  • Runtime
    30 minutes
  • Language
    English
  • Country
    United States
  • Director
    H. James Gilmore
  • Screenwriter
    Carolyn Kraus
  • Producer
    H. James Gilmore & Carolyn Kraus