POWER of PLACE

For American communities facing a new wave of transformational development,
honoring the past is the best path to a sustainable future

Power of Place follows an icon of the preservation movement and a new generation of activists as they work to defend local legacies and revitalize the heart and soul of America’s communities.

Synopsis

Dana Crawford

Power of Place is a feature length documentary film tracing the evolution of the American preservation movement, from its earliest days restoring the mansions and estates of our “Founding Fathers”, to the last decade when it has increasingly worked to embrace the full complexity of American history. The film will feature visionary Colorado preservationist Dana Crawford, whose work over the last 50 years has shown how historic preservation strengthens the social fabric of communities while also bolstering their economic vitality. It will also feature a new generation of preservationists who are extending Dana’s model by showing how preservation can and should focus on the stories of marginalized communities.

We’ll meet with experts in a variety of disciplines to discuss how powerful places are developed and preserved with a focus not only on history and architecture but also sociology, urban planning and psychology. We’ll travel across the country to look closely at some innovative preservation projects. We’ll look at how immigrant stories contribute to the character and identity of a place, and what is lost when those stories aren’t given the honor and recognition they deserve. We’ll look at how legacies of economic struggle are central to some communities, and what happens when gentrification threatens to erase those legacies. Finally, the film will also examine the pivotal importance of traumatic histories in shaping place, and what happens when those histories are covered up or ignored.

In deciding who is in and who is out of the book of history, the stakes have never been higher. Rarely has the pace of change wielded so much power in reshaping the physical environment in which we live.

What happens when people see their home transformed by forces beyond their control; their histories overwritten by new stories, new people? And how can their histories be integrated into the larger narrative of the place? It is the defining question of our age. But so far, the question has rarely been asked.

From the lessons of the past and triumphs of the present to the influence of the built environment on the human psyche, Power of Place will inspire a deeper appreciation for the diversity and importance of today’s Historic Preservation movement in enriching the identity and spirit of places across America.

Story Detail

As the pendulum in Colorado swings from the inner-city abandonment of a generation ago to the rural depopulation of today, Power of Place will follow Crawford, now 87, as she works to bring the lessons of her long career to what may be her most ambitious project to date: a collaborative effort to leverage the rich western history and historic buildings of Trinidad, Colorado, into a model for healthy and balanced development. Intercut with the Crawford story will be other examples of the urban renewal legacy of missed opportunities to harness the power of local history and identity.

An abandoned opera house in the heart of Trinidad, Colorado awaits the promise of a community renaissance that will restore its former glory and attract audiences not seen in decades.

In Stockton, CA, Filipino-American preservationist Dillon Delvo endeavors to preserve and restore the community of Little Manila, once the largest Filipino population outside of the Philippines, now a decimated urban pocket in the shadow of an expressway. In a bid to make way for new development, Stockton’s city council leveled nine city blocks of Little Manila during the urban renewal era. Little or no development followed. Fifty years later, a new city government has an opportunity not only to heal an historic injustice, but to attract at last the development the struggling city so badly needs. But it may only happen, Delvo contends, if leaders are willing to preserve and celebrate the unique Asian American community they were once determined to erase.

Along a small row of buildings segregated from downtown Stockton, California by an urban renewal era highway, Dillon Delvo contemplates the ramshackle remnants of Little Manila, once home to the largest population of Filipinos outside of the Philippines.

Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood offers a current example — the destruction and displacement of a thriving ethnic community is happening right now. Just as in Stockton and in other parts of the country during urban renewal, developers and politicians are working to turn Pilsen into Chicago’s latest hotspot, catering to wealthy millennials moving back to the city’s historic core. But as activists Byron Sigcho and Moises Moreno explain, this gentrification, if unchecked, will surely destroy a unique Mexican-American enclave; one whose rich history, thriving Latino culture, affordable housing, and broad array of social services catering to the needs of immigrants make it a refuge like no other in the upper midwest.

Moises Moreno proudly represents an effort to preserve the Latino culture and character of Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood amid waves of gentrification that threaten to displace a deep-rooted ethnic community.

The film will also follow the work of African American preservationists Julius Pegues and Rueben Gant in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Here, as in Stockton, prejudice erased what was indisputably one of the more important communities in the region’s history. Little remains of the historic Greenwood neighborhood, though in the early decades of the 20th Century it was home to “Black Wall Street,” one of the most prosperous and vibrant African American business communities anywhere in America. Greenwood was burned to the ground in 1921 during what is reputed to be the worst race riot in American history. But in the 1930s Greenwood would rise from the ashes, to surpass even its former stature, until urban renewal decimated the area again in the 70s leaving only a few surviving buildings.

The Tower of Reconciliation provides a potent reminder of the African-American struggle and the 1921 race riot that destroyed the then-thriving neighborhood of Greenwood in Tulsa, OK.

Today, Tulsa is one of the nation’s sparkling success stories for urban redevelopment, with nearly $1 billion in private real estate development just in the last 15 years. But Pegues and Gant are among a small but outspoken contingent who argue that preserving the Greenwood story in an updated downtown is not just a duty for Tulsans, but a unique opportunity to educate the larger society about the true cost of a racist hatred, and the threat intolerance still poses in America today.

Power of Place, a vividly produced, widely distributed and deeply inspirational documentary film will give today’s historic preservation movement the public attention it so richly deserves, and stimulate important conversations among a new generation of preservationists, developers, city planners and others who seek to reveal the true power of place.

Production Schedule

Production began in 2019 with post production slated for spring and summer of 2020.
Test screenings, completion and film festival entries will follow in late 2020 through the first quarter of 2021.


Project Management

The Managing Sponsor of the film is Historic Denver, a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in 1970 by citizens alarmed at the loss of the city’s historic fabric due to urban renewal and insensitive development. Their efforts to raise greater awareness about the role of preservation in building vibrant and sustainable communities, and their active role with the national network of preservation communities, make them an invaluable partner on all aspects of this production. Historic Denver will receive and manage all funds including grants and private, corporate, and nonprofit sponsorships.


Production Team

HaveyPro Cinema is a documentary film production company specializing in emotionally rich and uniquely powerful films that inspire a deeper understanding of stories that matter. From legacy films to preserve and articulate history and ideals to documentaries featuring the important people, places and stories of America, HaveyPro films make a compelling connection to hearts and minds at special events, in theaters, online and on television.


Fundraising

Opportunities for sponsorship will be presented to organizations with involvement and interest in historic preservation and placemaking. Grants will be sought from non-profits whose mission aligns with the film’s goals. Sponsorship benefits are commensurate with the level of support and include listing in film credits, its web site and promotions, and event signage. Funding will be sought from a broad spectrum of the public and private sectors.


Distribution

This film will have mass appeal as a critical resource encouraging more dialogue around the issue of saving the important places that form the irreplaceable fabric of our nation’s communities. In partnership with The League of Historic American Theatres, the film will be screened at historic theaters throughout the country as part of a nation-wide tour and discussion.

As with many of HaveyPro Cinema’s historical films, PBS stations will air Power of Place. Funding sponsors and other interest groups may screen and distribute the film for education and discussion among their networks and constituents. The film will be made available through a coordinated effort to professional associations such as the American Planning Association, State Historic Preservation Offices, American Institute of Architects, and the Urban Land Institute.

The film’s trailer premiered at the annual meeting of the Alliance of National Heritage Areas and at the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Past/Forward Conference. The National Park Service is featuring the film’s trailer on their website. Entry in regional and international film festivals will further expand the film’s audience and influence.

Words of Support

“The preservation of place is intentional. It does not happen by chance. Today’s historic buildings, structures, and sites survive as a result of many players working together for a shared vision; to celebrate, reuse and reinterpret these critical places for current and future generations. Power of Place will bring that message home.”

Jennifer Orrigo Charles
Executive Director
Colorado Preservation, Inc.

“Once Power of Place is ready for distribution, the League of Historic American Theaters will assist with securing screenings at historic theatres throughout the nation ensuring that this important film will be seen by as many people as possible.”

Ken A. Stein
President & CEO
League of Historic American Theatres

“To keep the vision of Historic Preservation alive and relevant in the future, our movement must reach out to younger and more diverse people to join in this mission. The Power of Place film will go a long way in helping us in this charge.”

Barb Pahl
Western Regional Director
National Trust for Historic Preservation

Power of Place proposes to tell the story of planners intent on saving history and working with ‘what is’ to make authentic places. These designs connect the past with the present and create places where people can actually connect. I’m looking forward to being a part of this critical project.”

Dana Crawford
President
Urban Neighborhoods


Partial List of Project Sponsors

American Institute of Architects — Historic Resources Committee

Colorado Office of Film, Television & Media

Colorado Preservation, Inc.

Hendricks Financial Services

Historic Denver

Johanna Favrot Fund for Historic Preservation

Linda Boden

Lumpkin Family Foundation

Poudre Heritage Alliance

Wright Family Foundation

Prospective Interview Subjects

Dana Crawford, President, Urban Neighborhoods

Amanda DeCort, Executive Director, Tulsa Foundation for Architecture

Dillon Delvo, Director, Little Manila Rising

Richard Florida, American Urban Studies Theorist

Mindy Fullilove, author 'Root Shock’ and ‘Urban Alchemy'

Patrice Frey, President & CEO, National Main Street Center

Reuben Gant, Director, John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation

Paul Gardullo, Curator, National Museum of African American History & Culture

Theaster Gates, Chicago artist

Ethan Kent, VP, Project for Public Spaces

Michelle Magalong, Executive Director, Asian & Pacific Islander Americans in Historic Preservation

Ward Miller, Executive Director, Preservation Chicago

Max Page, author ‘Why Preservation Matters’

Phil Rico, Mayor, Trinidad, Colorado

Donovan Rypkema, PlaceEconomics

Byron Sigcho-Lopez, Alderman, 25th Ward, Chicago

Anthony Wood, author ‘Preserving New York’


Partial List of Advisory Council Members

Mary Anthony, Director, 1772 Foundation

Kim Coventry, President, The Coventry Group LLC.

Dana Crawford, Chairman, Urban Neighborhoods

Patrice Frey, President & CEO, National Main Street Center

Walter Isenberg, President & CEO, Sage Hospitality

Fred Kent, Founder & President, Project for Public Spaces

Annie Levinsky, Executive Director, Historic Denver, Inc.

Korkut Onaran, PH.D., CNU AP, Assistant Professor Adjunct, College of Architecture & Planning, University of Colorado

Barb Pahl, Sr. Vice President of Field Services, National Trust for Historic Preservation

Steve Turner AIA, Executive Director/SHPO, History Colorado


For more information, contact Blair Miller at blair@haveypro.com