Land of Opportunity

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Recent Posts

Welcome to the News section! Here you can find out about all sorts of news related to Land of Opportunity, the people and issues presented in the film, and upcoming events.


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    September 03, 2015

    Toward a Just New Orleans

    NEW! “Toward a Just New Orleans”

    Last week marked a decade since Hurricane Katrina and failed levees forever altered the lives and landscape of the Gulf South. Facing this monumental anniversary, New Orleans weathered a different kind of maelstrom as camera crews and resiliency experts flocked to the city to commemorate, debate, and sometimes pontificate about lessons learned and strategies for moving forward in the next ten years.

    Land of Opportunity has itself been in existence for close to a decade, as an ongoing effort to make sense of what happened – and all that has happened since. We’ve written previously about the showmanship of “anniversary moments,” and the iterative importance of continuing to tell stories of recovery. The question now is, and will continue to be, “How can the next one be different?

    In this spirt we’re excited to release the interactive version of “Toward a Just New Orleans,” a short documentary produced in collaboration with the Ford Foundation that features the voices of community advocates, residents and non-profit leaders addressing the challenges and opportunities New Orleans faces ten years later. This rich media version features additional footage, data and research – and allows users to make connections between New Orleans and other communities. View “Toward a Just New Orleans” here.

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    May 07, 2015

    NEW! Land of Opportunity + Anti-Eviction Mapping Project...

    In cities across America, gentrification is changing the face of historic neighborhoods, where the loss of affordable housing – and mass displacement – has become the new norm. Today, we are thrilled to release “We Are Here: Stories of Displacement and Resistance,” an interactive video produced in partnership with our newest collaborators, the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project in San Francisco.

    “We Are Here: Stories of Displacement and Resistance”
    This layered interactive video begins with the story of Benito Santiago – Filipino artist, teacher, and community advocate – who, like many, is being evicted from his longtime affordable home in rapidly gentrifying San Francisco. At the core of Benito’s story is California’s Ellis Act, a controversial state law that has been used to aid evictions since the 1990s. Throughout his story, we’ve woven in layers of additional multimedia content, including portraits of other community members facing eviction, and maps, data and protest footage from the grassroots anti-eviction movement challenging rapacious landlords and tech companies. There are also articles and research drawing connections with the affordable housing crises happening in Chicago, New Orleans and New York City. View the interactive video here.

    Please share widely! And as always, remember to follow Land of Opportunity on Facebook and on Twitter to keep up with new releases and the latest happenings.

    More About the Partnership
    A(E)MP is a data visualization, data analysis, and digital storytelling collective documenting the San Francisco Bay Area eviction crisis, while providing tools for collective resistance. Central to the vision of Land of Opportunity is the multi-layered exploration of crucial urban themes such as gentrification, affordable housing and economic displacement. We’re so excited to dig deep into an innovative storytelling partnership in a new city!

    Note: This platform is an ongoing work-in-progress at the cutting-edge of current technology. It currently works best on laptops or tablets with recent versions of Chrome, Firefox or Safari and with a high speed internet connection. Moving forward, we hope to get the resources to make this experience more accessible. If you encounter bugs or glitches, we appreciate your patience and feedback.

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    December 17, 2014

    Holiday Updates

    2014 has been another busy and productive year for Land of Opportunity. We received recognition (thank you, Webbys), launched a new category to the platform (Community/Commodity) as well as a new interactive timeline (Katrina/Sandy). It’s also been a busy and fun-packed year of showcasing the project around the nation, with screenings, demos, and workshops in places like Chicago, Washington DC, New York, Denver and New Orleans.

    As a collaborative project at the core, we also delight in the success of our many talented partners, who really knocked it out of the park this year in terms of getting their amazing work out into the world. These are a few highlights:

    Sandy Storyline
    Our partners at Sandy Storyline recently partnered with the New York Public Library to curate an interactive display in recognition of the two year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. Read more about the display here, and learn more about Sandy Storyline “here“

    Gaining Ground
    The Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative celebrated their 30th anniversary of Boston neighborhood revitalization with a community screening of Gaining Ground. View the work of DSNI profiled in the interactive short “This Land is Our Land.”

    Big Charity
    The folks behind the feature documentary film Big Charity, excerpted in the interactive short “The Life and Death of Charity:”, took home the Jury Award for Best Louisiana Feature at the 2014 New Orleans Film Festival.

    Holiday Gifts
    Naughty or nice, there’s something in the Land of Opportunity merch store for everyone (this NOLA pup agrees), so pick up a DVD or t-shirt for you and your family. And remember that donations and purchases are instrumental to sustaining this project; thank you!

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    October 29, 2014

    Disaster Recovery

    Remembering Hurricane Sandy 2 Years Later

    A mother paces her damaged home with her young daughter, the strain and desperation building in her voice as she details the red tape and road blocks that stand between her and rebuilding.

    An elderly woman living without heat or electricity describes why she’s staying through the cold and dark, with winter approaching, in the apartment she’s lived in for 70 years.

    These remarkable stories and more are part of Katrina/Sandy, an interactive timeline produced by LandofOpportunity and Sandy Storyline that compares and contrasts the impact and responses to Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.

    Katrina/Sandy was conceived with a central question in mind: what can we learn by stepping back and viewing these two narratives in conversation with one another? Recovery can and should be different, and we must heed the stories of the past if we don’t want to recreate them.

    View Katrina/Sandy here.

    Sandy Survivors – To add to the storyline, please submit your stories to Sandy Storyline.

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    August 26, 2014

    Introducing: Katrina/Sandy

    This week marks 9 years since Hurricane Katrina decimated the Gulf Coast, and almost 2 years since Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast. In partnership with Sandy Storyline, we are proud to release an interactive timeline that connects the dots between two of the most devastating disasters in our recent history.

    As documentarians on the ground after Katrina and Sandy, we wondered what we could learn by stepping back and viewing the stories we’d documented in conversation with one another – and by incorporating the wealth of research, data, and analysis that has come to light in the years since.

    These engaging personal narratives, of leaving, of loss, of looking ahead, are layered with multimedia research, analysis, and commentary from leading scholars, journalists, and advocates. Users follow their own path through the timeline, discovering fresh perspectives and insight into survival and community resilience in the wake of disaster.

    View Katrina/Sandy
    Katrina/Sandy is the latest feature of the LandofOpportunity experimental web platform. A partnership between LandofOpportunity and Sandy Storyline, the timeline also features short videos from acclaimed filmmakers Nathan Fitch, Brent Joseph, William Sabourin, Leah Mahan, and Monique Verdin.

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    August 12, 2014

    Trailer: "Katrina/Sandy"

    In partnership with Sandy Storyline, we’re excited to offer a sneak peek of “Katrina/Sandy,” an interactive timeline. This feature, which we’ve been developing since soon after Sandy hit, compares and contrasts stories from key moments in these devastating storms and the subsequent aftermath and recovery efforts. As large-scale disasters increasingly become our “new normal”, we hope this tool will help communities use lessons from the past to prepare for the future.


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    April 11, 2014

    We're a Webby Honoree!

    This week, judges at the Webby Awards selected the LandofOpportunity interactive platform as an Official Honoree for Best Community Website. This recognition comes as a great and exciting honor as we near only our fifth month of being “live” on the web. Honorees are selected for recognition based on excellence in content, structure and navigation, visual design, functionality, interactivity and overall experience.

    We are beyond thrilled to be in the company of fellow Honorees including Vimeo, National Geographic, and the amazing interactive doc Hollow.

    That this year’s Awards received 12,000 entries from all 50 US states and over 60 countries worldwide makes this honor even more gratifying and humbling.

    If you haven’t yet, please check out our new and featured videos on the LandofOpportunity platform. We also need your help to keep the momentum going and spread the word, so please take a moment to Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter if you don’t already.

    As always, thank you for your continued support, and stay tuned for new features and content in the coming weeks.

    Gratefully Yours,
    Luisa and the LandofOpportunity team

    About the Webby Awards
    Hailed as the “Internet’s highest honor” by The New York Times, The Webby Awards is the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet, including Websites, Interactive Advertising & Media, Online Film & Video, Mobile & Apps, and Social. Established in 1996, The Webby Awards received nearly 12,000 entries from all 50 states and over 60 countries worldwide this year. The Webby Awards is presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS). Sponsors and Partners of The Webby Awards include: Microsoft, Dell, Vitamin T, MailChimp, Engine Yard, Funny or Die, AdAge, Percolate, Mashable, Business Insider, Internet Week New York and Guardian News and Media.

    A note about Beta. This platform is an ongoing work-in-progress at the cutting-edge of current technology. It currently works best on laptops or tablets with the latest version of popular browsers (Safari, Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer 9 and above), with a high speed internet connection. Moving forward, we hope to get the resources to make this experience more accessible as the technology evolves. If you encounter bugs or glitches, we appreciate your patience and feedback.

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    March 26, 2014

    NEW Videos! Introducing Community/Commodity

    Today we launch a brand new category on LandofOpportunity, with three new interactive videos!

    What happens when the government stops investing in a community’s vital public resources, housing, land, a hospital, and the private sector takes over? We explore the ensuing tensions in Community/Commodity.

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    January 16, 2014

    From Exclusion to Engagement: Community Heroes

    As you look around your community, do you recognize the heroes who are fighting for justice, peace and equality?

    Dr. Martin Luther King famously wrote in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” :

    “One day the South will recognize its real heroes… They will be young high school and college students, young ministers of the gospel and a host of their elders courageously and nonviolently sitting in at lunch counters and willingly going to jail for conscience’s sake. One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters they were in reality standing up for the best in the American dream”

    In advance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and on the anniversary of his birth, we want to lift up a few of the stories on the LandofOpportunity platform that show people across the country: high school students, artists, young public housing residents, activists, who are, in their own ways, following in Dr. King’s footsteps and fighting for social justice in their communities.

    For example, the hundreds of young people, mostly Black and Latino, who marched on downtown Boston in 2012 and again in 2013, to call for youth employment, echoing some of the demands of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Many of these young marchers organize with the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, which has deeply engaged youth in the working-class Roxbury/North Dorchester neighborhood in all aspects of civic and political life since 1984. Learn more about DSNI through our interactive video “Youth Rising,” produced in partnership with the filmmakers of Gaining Ground.


    Exclusion/Engagement also features these powerful stories about community engagement: participatory budgeting campaigns rethink community spending, from Vallejo to the Bronx; young residents of Chicago’s demolished Cabrini Green development challenge local politicians; New Orleans artist Marcus Akinlana lifts up Black culture, history, and resistance in the midst of an exploitative tourist economy.

    Join the conversation. Who is carrying on Dr. King’s legacy in your community?

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    November 14, 2013

    It's Happening! Our Beta Interactive Platform Is Live!

    The Beta platform is live!
    Please dig deep and share!

    In early 2006, I came to New Orleans to document stories of how this beloved city would rebuild after the massive devastation of Hurricane Katrina. I met resolute homeowners gutting their properties, determined immigrant workers living in tents, courageous community organizers fighting for decimated neighborhoods and defiant public housing tenants protesting the closing of their homes. I also learned about the clashing agendas of politicians, planners and developers who all had different ideas about what the new New Orleans should be.

    As I documented hundreds of stories over five years, it became clear that the issues and tensions I was witnessing—Devastation/Rebuilding, Displacement/Home, Exclusion/Engagement, Community/Commodity—were not happening just in post-Katrina New Orleans. From the Gulf Coast to Chicago, from New York City to Detroit and from the U.S. to the Philippines, a fundamental question resonates: How can we (re)build our communities in a just, inclusive and sustainable way?

    In order to explore this complex question, we needed a new way to create and share stories, one that drew connections across time, place, and community. Today, almost 8 years after my journey in New Orleans began, I’m pleased to share with you the newest iteration of the Land of Opportunity project: an experimental web platform that merges multimedia storytelling with curated data, research, and calls to action in one collaborative interactive space.

    Please take a look at the Beta of the LandofOpportunity interactive web platform. Dig deep, make comments, and share the platform with your communities and contacts.

    Share on Facebook and Twitter.

    On LandofOpportunity, you’ll find stories of artists facing displacement in post-Katrina New Orleans; youth organizing for jobs and livable communities in Boston; public housing tenants facing eviction in Chicago in the nineties; gentrification in downtown Brooklyn; communities sharing backyards and bayous with the oil industry on the Gulf Coast, and more.

    We’ll be rolling out content for the next several weeks (including an interactive Katrina/Sandy Timeline) so stay tuned and keep coming back!

    The Land of Opportunity project has been a journey, one that doesn’t end with the launching of the interactive site. We’ll need resources and developers to keep improving the open-source platform. We’ll need storytellers to keep finding and contributing stories. We’ll need educators to foster dialogue and debate. We’ll need advocates to turn online audiences into actors for change. We invite you to take the next step with us. If you have feedback or ideas for collaboration, please contact us.

    Thank you for being a part of our journey.
    Luisa and the Land of Opportunity team

    *A note about Beta: This platform is a work-in-progress at the cutting-edge of current technology. It currently works best on laptops or tablets with the latest version of popular browsers (Safari, Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer 9 and above), and with a high speed internet connection. Moving forward, we hope to get the resources to make this experience more accessible as the technology evolves. If you encounter bugs or glitches, we appreciate your patience and feedback.

    Tags: interactivelandofopportunityplatform

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    October 29, 2013

    Disaster Recovery

    From Katrina to Sandy: Beyond Anniversaries.

    Today marks the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy hitting the eastern seaboard of the United States. This day carries heavy meaning for thousands of people—from Jamaica to Canada—who lost someone to the storm, who struggled through weeks of winter without heat or light, who dedicated themselves to supporting their neighbors, who are still trying to make their way home. It’s also a time when governors and mayors will undoubtedly stand at podiums and unveil high-profile projects and promises designed to show how far we’ve come from the dark days of disaster.

    And then, October 29th will pass. The spotlight will diminish, and the day-to-day struggles to equitably rebuild vulnerable communities will continue, largely unrecognized by the mainstream media or general public. We saw this play out after Hurricane Katrina, too.

    At Land of Opportunity, we are seeking to create media that goes beyond “anniversary” moments. Our goal is to make media that supports the equitable and just (re)building of communities—from post-Katrina New Orleans to post-Sandy New York, and beyond. That’s why we’re developing an interactive web platform where stories of disaster recovery, community (re)development, and urban equity live together in one collaborative interactive space.

    Today, we’re excited to share the trailer for our interactive platform.

    The trailer gives a taste of some of the stories you’ll find on the platform, and some of the features: rich media videos that merge compelling multimedia storytelling with data, research, and calls to action, and an interactive Katrina/Sandy timeline, where stories from survivors of those storms are juxtaposed at key moments.

    Please watch and share the trailer. We’re relying on you—our friends, colleagues, and network—to spread the word.

    We’ll be rolling out the interactive platform over the next couple of weeks, so please stay tuned.

    Thank you for your continued support!

    Land of Opportunity

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    September 26, 2013

    We Want YOU to Be a Beta Tester!

    It’s almost time! We’ve got about a month until the official launch of our new interactive website, which will feature multimedia collaborative stories from our partners in New Orleans and sister cities. To get there, we need your help. Become a BETA TESTER!

    About Beta Testing
    You’ll fill out a short form here providing us with your email, and we’ll give you the private login information to the site. Very VIP. So exclusive. You’ll have free reign to play around the site, and we’ll ask you to report any bugs, glitches, or inconsistencies. Your feedback and insights will be instrumental in helping us to improve and polish our platform, which is still a work in progress. Click HERE to get access and start exploring the LandofOpportunity!

    We also welcome suggestions and feedback about content. If you’re exploring a video and inspiration strikes, please feel free to add your content suggestions to our private Facebook group here.