Film

  • A City Traced
    Prudence Katze and William Lehman
    Directors
  • GRANTEE
    Prudence Katze & William Lehman
    GRANT YEAR
    2016

Prudence Katze and William Lehman, film still from A City Traced, 2013, New York. Courtesy of the artists.

Targeted for several failed redevelopment plans dating back to the days of Robert Moses, Willets Point, a gritty area in New York City known as the "Iron Triangle," is home to hundreds of immigrant-run, auto-body shops that thrive despite a lack of municipal infrastructure the rest of the city takes for granted. Now, this community faces an existential threat as the city’s government advances plans for a "dynamic" high-end entertainment district that would completely wipe out this historic industrial core. Through conversations with city officials, real estate developers, urban theorists, and the workers of Willets Point, A City Traced untangles how politics and language are wielded to advance the promise of a glossy, post-industrial future. Against a backdrop of nebulous anxieties generated by global capitalism, an intimate lens holds steady on life inside of the Iron Triangle, where workers fiercely cling to their livelihoods, and their piece of the American Dream.

Prudence Katze is a New York-based artist and urbanist whose work focuses on how invisible political infrastructures intersect with the built world. Katze was a research assistant on Summer in the City: John Lindsay, New York, and the American Dream (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014), which reassessed Lindsay's legacy during the era of Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society program; she previously held the position of policy coordinator at Reinvent Albany, a nonprofit that champions government transparency through civic technology. She received her BFA from the Cooper Union and graduated from Hunter College with a master’s degree in urban planning.

William Lehman is an Oregon-based filmmaker and editor who lived and worked in New York City for ten years. His early short films played at festivals in the United States and Italy. As an editor, he has focused primarily on long-format social issue documentaries. In recent years, he has been a contributing editor to the films The Yes Men are Revolting and Meru, and has completed the feature-length documentaries The Wound and the Gift, which delves into the beneficial relationships that grow out of the animal rescue movement, and Things Left Behind, about the first major art exhibition devoted to Hiroshima. Prior to that, he edited From the Ground Up, which premiered on PBS and OWN in 2011.