Archives / 2008 Sundance Film Festival

Made in America

Director: Stacy Peralta

Institute History

Description

In one small stretch of land in south Los Angeles, there is enough history, tragedy, and hope to inform a nation. This area is known as South Central LA, once a hotbed of African American culture but now known to many as simply a war zone.

Applying his distinct storytelling style to explore the history of this neighborhood, filmmaker Stacy Peralta interviews many who have lived there, who have survived, and who try to hold this community together. In this film rich with historical footage, subjects recount their innovation of forming their own "clubs" after being denied participation in the Boy Scouts of America. From the Watts riots to community-inspired activism and the Black Power movement that exploded in the late 1960s, the evolution of this neighborhood is complicated and not easily explained. This is especially true since, after the Black Power movement was systemically squelched by the federal government, a new element arose in the face of oppression: the Crips.

In this broad, historic examination of South Central, the film traces the roots of African American transplants who fled a racist South only to find its more subdued form just as powerful in Southern California. Peralta relays stories that have gone unnoticed for far too long, stories that are distinctly made in America.

— N. Bird Runningwater

Screening Details

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