Will a rebranded neighborhood have room for the poor?

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Every year, filmmaker Drew Bachrach (who earns a living creating content-for-hire) saves up enough money to make his own work in the summertime, to pursue a passion project. When he heard about the planned demolition of a housing project in Watts, built decades ago as temporary barracks for veterans returning from World War II, he knew he’d found his subject. He wondered if what happened to the infamous, sprawling projects in Chicago, which have been torn down in recent years and replaced with “mixed-use” buildings, would happen here: the g-word, gentrification.

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A still from Watts Waits, a film by Drew Bachrach.

No one can answer that question yet. The Jordan Downs redevelopment project, which is intended to more than double the number of families on-site, is stalled, for lack of funds.

Bachrach’s short film, “Watts Waits: The redevelopment of Jordan Downs” which premieres at the Newport Beach Film Festival on Monday, looks at the current state of the cinder-block development. He told us when he visited KCRW that he’s excited to bring some of the people, and the sights of the projects, to Orange County.

Filmmaker Drew Bachrach
Filmmaker Drew Bachrach at the studios of KCRW (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)