The Salinas Project

Here’s the project I’ve been working on with film maker and educator Carolyn E. Brown of American University in Washington DC. It’s been a monumental task for her flying out here uncovering the story for us to shoot, and its far from done, but I wanted to show a little glimpse of what’s in the works.

Update (June 2012): American University has a description of the project on their website.

Here is a description of the project from Carolyn:

About one hour South of the wealthy Silicon Valley, and twenty minutes east of the affluent Monterey/Carmel area, home of the famous Pebble Beach Golf Course, sits the agricultural, immigrant town of Salinas. On the east side of Salinas, in a neighborhood known as Alisal, deplorable housing conditions and gang violence are part of daily life. But there are big changes happening in the community and a sense of renewal.

The city of Salinas, California, sits at the head of a fertile valley. Every day Americans eat produce that is hand picked by migrant farm workers here. Along with an abundance of other crops, 80 percent of the nation’s lettuce and artichokes are grown here, but few understand the challenges the farm workers and their children face. These farm workers are the backbone of agriculture in the United States and contribute to our food supply, yet they live in the shadows in inadequate housing, in dangerous neighborhoods, where gangs prey on vulnerable young people, left home alone, while their parents work long hours in the fields.

This documentary will profile several children of migrant farm workers living in the Salinas Valley, specifically in Alisal. Without resources, and sometimes undocumented, their future is often uncertain, but their hope and resilience are abundant. This film will help viewers understand this immigrant community that is often misrepresented in the media. News stories have often focused on gang violence, often marginalizing the lives of those who work in the fields, and their children. Furthermore the film will bring to light the systemic causes of the problems in East Salinas and will highlight the successes and hopes of this community, despite adversity.

It will probably be a year before anything is put together, but it’s been a huge eye opener shooting the video for this. The resulting film from Carolyn is going to be a powerhouse.

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