Fred Schmidt-Arenales

Fred Schmidt-Arenales, “IT IS A GOOD PROJECT AND SHOULD BE BUILT,” 2024. Film still. Courtesy the artist

IT IS A GOOD PROJECT AND SHOULD BE BUILT is an experimental nonfiction feature film about the controversial sixty-billion-dollar proposed Texas Coastal Barrier project meant to protect the built environment in the Texas Gulf coast from hurricane induced storm surge. The project is planned by the Army Corps of Engineers, and steered on the state level by a group of local politicians and industrial representatives called the Gulf Coast Protection District. Documentary interviews, footage of public meetings, staged participatory enactments, footage of potentially affected landscapes, and scripted fictional scenes are woven together to unpack the dominant priorities and interests on the Texas coast, and how out of step those are with people who simply want to live there. The film acts as an educational and organizing tool in places where the issues it addresses present themselves and as they continue to develop in the coming decades.

Fred Schmidt-Arenales is an artist and filmmaker. His projects attempt to bring awareness to unconscious processes on the individual and group level. He has presented films, installations, and performances internationally at venues including SculptureCenter, The Bronx Museum, and Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York; the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, Chicago; Fonderie Darling, Montreal; Lightbox Film Center, Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), and Vox Populi, Philadelphia; Artspace, New Haven; The Museum of Fine Arts and FotoFest, Houston; Künstlerhaus Halle für Kunst und Medien, Graz; and Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna. His film Committee of Six was awarded a Jury Prize for Best of the Festival at the 2023 Onion City Experimental Film Festival.