Closing Alfred E. Smith Documentary

| February 13, 2010

Yesterday I had the pleasure of having another terrific shoot at Alfred E. Smith, a vocational high school in the South Bronx that was recently slated to be closed by the Board of Ed. Because of the press and media attention that has surrounded the closure of such an important school, the Board of Ed chose to keep the automotive program but close the HVAC and Building Trades programs. Ironically, they are replacing the Building Trades program (which trains students in designing and building real houses) with a for-profit Career and Engineering Charter School. This charter school has garnered a bit of press for alleged corruption and overall sketchy behavior.

Nate Wight, a friend of mine and one of the teachers who is organizing students and community members to keep the school open, has been taking a near-prolific amount of video footage of the whole process. He has been using his video footage to demonstrate the importance of the school: here’s a link to one of the videos that got the attention of the New York Times: http://vimeo.com/9262379

I’ve been helping out with filming, editing and compiling some of his footage, as well as designing a longer form documentary series of the project. As a documentary filmmaker, it’s amazing to have such incredible access to the inner workings of a NYC public school in danger of being shut down. In the coming weeks I’ll be publishing two or three interesting short videos that cover the student’s perspective on the closing, as well as the coverage of the first and second public hearings that were led by the Board of Ed.

Stay tuned for updates on this project!