We Are City: The Pruitt-Igoe Myth at the IMA  

As a former (though perpetual) student of history, I am enamored with works of nonfiction.  I could curl up with what others might consider “dry reading material” and be captivated for hours.  I am the same way when it comes to film.  Sure I enjoy a good narrative feature now-and-then, and I have always deeply appreciated a filmmaker’s ability to craft a story and tell it onscreen.  But for me few things compare to the marriage of historical research and real-life story telling that a good documentary provides.

Documentaries have always played a huge role in the Heartland Film Festival, and one of the most common things I heard this past October was, “How can we see this film again?”  Well now you have a chance to see my personal favorite 2011 HFF official selection documentary The Pruitt-Igoe Myth for the first, second or third time!

The film explores St. Louis’ Pruitt-Igoe complex.  Once considered a housing marvel, the image of its implosion has helped to perpetuate a myth of failure–one that has been used to attack and criticize public assistance programs, Modernist architecture and the residents of these projects themselves.

The Myth is more than just historical footage of high-rise apartments in the midwest.  It tells the story of the transformation of the American city in the post-War years, analyzing the underlying issues of class, race and suburbanization that have dramatically changed cities across the country.  Director Chad Friedrichs weaves in the personal narratives of several Pruitt-Igoe residents, adding a gripping and emotional component to the saga.

We are excited to announce that we will be partnering with the Indianapolis Museum of Art to screen this extraordinary film as part of the IMA’s “We Are City” film series.  This is an ongoing program highlighting ideas for making cities better places to live.  It is presented by the IMA and Wishard Health services with support from Butler University Center for Urban Ecology, URBN DSGN, Big Car, The Platform and Indiana Humanities.

Following the film, a moderated panel discussion will take place, and the audience can participate in “action tables” related to residential architecture and affordable housing in Indianapolis.

We look forward to seeing you on Thursday, April 5, at 7:00 p.m. at the Toby Theater.  Head here for more information and tickets.