Drawing from the rich tradition of independent documentary and still photography in the Harlem community, HarlemFocusDocs is an incubator for visual storytelling. On the HFD website students, of the BFA in Film and Video and the Journalism minor at The City College of New York, present a series of short character-based documentary films. These films highlight overlooked and under-reported aspects of the rich past and vibrant present of Harlem. Moving beyond mainstream “television style” reporting that is driven by on-camera talent and sound bites from politicians and civic leaders, these short films are visually inventive narrative portraits utilizing the voices of Harlemites. Each character embodies the resilient artistic and cultural spirit that has given Harlem its identity through good times and bad, and now must inform the community in this time of transition. Each year students will produce a “season” of short films for this web series featured on the website of The Amsterdam News, the iconic Black newspaper that gave voice to African American leaders including W.E.B. Dubois, Malcolm X and Adam Clayton Powell Jr.
Harlem Focus Docs is a cooperative project of CCNY – Amsterdam News Urban Digital Media Lab in Collaboration with The Documentary Forum and The CCNY/BFA Documentary Workshops