Of Memory & Los Sures

Animated oral histories of longtime residents reflect a collective memory of Los Sures

Of Memory & Los Sures (2011) is a hybrid animated documentary film featuring oral histories of longtime residents of Los Sures, a neighborhood in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Voices of longtime residents of Los Sures, a mostly Puerto Rican neighborhood, are juxtaposed with images suggesting a recently disappearing past. The film weaves their stories, reflecting unique glimpses into collective memory of a place undergoing rapid changes. Through explorations of urban space, the film unearths fragments of history and culture, and recreates those memories through video, photography, archival documents and animation.

Director’s Statement

When Andrew and I started our journey into Los Sures, we did not want to tell a story of the neighborhood as it is today, but as it existed in the past. We were attracted to the concept of memory and how a place is remembered. Andrew shared with me an incredible RadioLab piece about the process of remembering and forgetting that inspired the direction we took. How do you paint a picture and time of a place that only exists in the memories of those who lived it? How do you not judge or define of whose version of history is right or wrong, but to allow people’s memories to overlap, contradict and meld into each other?

From that jumping off point, our goal was to find long-term residents of Los Sures to share intimate, authentic stories about this neighborhood. Our documentary style was to record oral histories, allowing subjects to talk about whatever they wished without the glare of a video camera or interviewer’s agenda. Ultimately, because little archival footage exists to illustrate these stories, I decided to employ my unique style of animation to reveal a ghost-like presence of past lives embedded within present-day locations.”

— Laurie Sumiye

Press

“Absolutely lovely portrait…using a mix of animation, photo montage, film, and the recorded memories of residents directors Andrew Parsons & Laurie Sumiye have created an amazing little film that is tactile and very much of the place.”
— Steve Kopian, Unseen Films

“[In Of Memory & Los Sures] longtime Puerto Rican residents who have dealt with the turmoil of drugs and gang violence and are dealing with the forces of gentrification pushing them out of their Williamsburg homes are portrayed eloquently and candidly and compellingly in a way that no traditional news platform could possibly do.”
— Gregg Morris, Hunter WORD

New Doc Captures Oral Histories of South Williamsburg
— Henry Stewart, The L Magazine

Screenings

Living Los Sures Shorts on the Lawn, Southside Connex Street Festival, Brooklyn, NY 2014
OYE! Avant-Garde Festival, Brooklyn, NY, 2014
DOC NYC, New York, NY, 2014
Rincón International Film Festival, Rincón, Puerto Rico, 2013
BAMcinemaFest, Brooklyn, NY, 2012
Living Los Sures: Preview in the Park, Brooklyn, NY, 2011

Team

Laurie Sumiye

Laurie Sumiye

Laurie Sumiye is a Hawai’i-born documentary artist and creative technologist who investigates environmental tensions between humans and nature. Her background in interactive media, animation, journalism and design uniquely informs her films, drawings and installations. She has shown her award-winning films at DOC NYC, BAMcinemaFest and DOCUTAH, and presented her art in New York, Los Angeles, Hawai’i and internationally, in the UK, South Africa and Brazil. She has a MFA in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College, BA & BS in Art and Communications from Bradley University, and studied art at Lorenzo De’ Medici in Florence and Pratt Institute.

Andrew Parsons

Andrew Parsons

Andrew Parsons was a first grade teacher working in New York City’s charter schools when he decided to buy some recording equipment, teach himself radio and make a 45-minute radio documentary about special education in charter schools. He has been documenting every since. He’s a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and has worked for WNYC, Marketplace, NPR and is currently a producer at the show BackStory.

Laurie Sumiye

Laurie Sumiye

Laurie Sumiye is a Hawai’i-born documentary artist and creative technologist who investigates environmental tensions between humans and nature. Her background in interactive media, animation, journalism and design uniquely informs her films, drawings and installations. She has shown her award-winning films at DOC NYC, BAMcinemaFest and DOCUTAH, and presented her art in New York, Los Angeles, Hawai’i and internationally, in the UK, South Africa and Brazil. She has a MFA in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College, BA & BS in Art and Communications from Bradley University, and studied art at Lorenzo De’ Medici in Florence and Pratt Institute.

Andrew Parsons

Andrew Parsons

Andrew Parsons was a first grade teacher working in New York City’s charter schools when he decided to buy some recording equipment, teach himself radio and make a 45-minute radio documentary about special education in charter schools. He has been documenting every since. He’s a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and has worked for WNYC, Marketplace, NPR and is currently a producer at the show BackStory.

Credits

Directed and produced by Andrew Parsons & Laurie Sumiye

Featuring:
Stewart Backfield
Eddie Calderone-Melendez
Luis Garden Acosta
Henry Gonzalez
Frances Lucerna
Joe Matunis
Randy Quiles
Richard “Break Easy” Santiago
Kirby Santos
Paweł Wojtasik
Kate Yourke

Sound: Andrew Parsons
Visuals: Laurie Sumiye
Editorial Advisor: Kara Oehler

UnionDocs Collaborative Studio Directors: Jesse Shapins, Kara Oehler

UnionDocs Artistic Director: Christopher Allen

Project Mentors: Cassim Sheppard, Chi-Hui Yang, Dr. Thomas Zummer

2010-2011 Collaborative Fellows: Annie Berman, Emma Brenner-Malin, Stephanie Chang, Michael Kugler, Will Martin, Laura Mayer, Ashley Panzera, Andrew Parsons, Kristin Rogghe, Joshua Gen Solondz, Laurie Sumiye, Daniel Terna, Rosa White, Matthew Yoka

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