March 19 Reception Set for Departures: Eagle Rock
A March 19 reception in Occidental College’s Weingart Art Gallery will celebrate the release of a new web-based documentary on Eagle Rock Boulevard, the fruit of an innovative collaboration between KCET-TV and Occidental students enrolled in a documentary film course.
The interactive Departures: Eagle Rock website uses a series of interviews with local residents to tell the story of Eagle Rock Boulevard, the “main street” of the Northeast Los Angeles college community known for its mixture of vintage small businesses and hipster hot spots.
This fall, students in Katie Mills’ documentary theory class studied the ethics and aesthetics of filmmaking by leaving the classroom and going to nearby Eagle Rock Boulevard. There, each student selected locals – more than 50 people altogether – to tell stories about the past and present of the boulevard. This complex portrait of a neighborhood in transition features the people found in the area’s small businesses and coffee shops, on the bus and in the bowling alley, in the Philippine Village and the Presbyterian Church, doing laundry and serving lunch.
Eagle Rock Boulevard joins the Boyle Heights and Watts documentaries created for the Departures series on Los Angeles neighborhoods under the direction of KCET’s Juan Devis. Mills, an adjunct professor of film and media studies at Occidental, and Devis planned the project for several months before students were enlisted to conduct hours of interviews.
A reception for the community, participants, and campus will be held on Thursday, March 19 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in Weingart Gallery #103 on the Occidental campus. A Departures exhibition will feature computer access to the documentary, images of some of the Eagle Rock participants, and a map where gallery visitors can add their own name and location.
Maps and directions to campus can be found at http://www.oxy.edu/x119.xml. The Weingart Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Departure exhibit closes April 2. Admission is free.
The documentary crew includes Rachel Andersen ’10; Dino Dinko ’08; Adam Elkus ’10; Debbie Kim ’10; Bena Li ’10; Katherine Lonsdorf ’09; and Andrew Valdes ’09. Occidental’s Community Based Learning Center helped make the project possible by providing funding support for Gerry Maravilla ‘09, who organized all the hours of digital documentation.