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In New Doc, Activists Fought For Affordable Housing In Bronzeville Amid Chicago's Olympics Obsession

By Stephen Gossett in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 23, 2017 8:44PM

'Blueprint for Bronzeville'

So many of the most high-profile contemporary urban issues run right through the recent history of the Bronzeville neighborhood: the struggle for affordable housing, segregation, anxiety over gentrification, the institutional intervention into private and public lands. A new short documentary casts its lens on all those issues as they relate to the neighborhood—particularly in terms of how activists used Chicago's failed bid for the 2016 Olympic games to advocate against a lack of affordable housing in the community.

Blueprint for Bronzeville chronicles how activist group Housing Bronzeville in particular looked to redirect the sudden focus of attention on their neighborhood—which the city had eyed for a potential Olympic Village and stadium—back into community development, specifically efforts to secure hundreds of vacant lots for affordable housing opportunities.

“While the public could see one carefully manicured side of the Olympics bid story, we were embedded with community organizers on the ground level, getting a very different view of how Chicago’s bid fell apart," said producer Arlen Parsa, in a press release.

Blueprint for Bronzeville (40 min.) premieres at the Black Harvest Film Festival on Aug. 28 and 30, at the Gene Siskel Film Center. Parsa , co-producer Tristan Hanson and various subjects featured in the documentary will be on hand for Q&A sessions following both screenings. Tickets are available here.