A recent Inquirer report, tucked in at the bottom of the front page, stated an overwhelmingly tragic fact of our city: we have the highest number of people living in deep poverty of the 10 largest cities in the nation.
But what does that mean exactly? The national poverty level is $11,170 for an individual and $23,050 for a family of four. Deep poverty is defined as living on half the income of the poverty level. This means that 12.9% of Philadelphia’s population, or 200,000 people, are living off half of these incomes.
These statistics do little to convey the reality of poverty, but recognizing them is a start to realizing the vast problems facing our city. A next step might be to take a closer look at the lives being impacted. This is exactly what an upcoming local documentary, The Backyard Philly Project, attempts to do.
The documentary concerns the lives of four teens living in a public housing project at 6th and Green. Their struggles are portrayed through home videos and face-to-face interviews.
A local production company called Ferasha Films created the documentary with the intention of shedding light on Philly’s disenfranchised youth. Director Amanda Danziger was inspired after becoming heavily involved in after-school programs. Her experience made her realize how little she understood about their lives.
“These are stories that many of us do not know or understand,” said Danziger. “They have stories that so many of us cannot even relate to, and that is why I wanted to create this documentary.”
She added that “my hope is that for those that watch this documentary, they will put themselves in the shoes of these teenagers and realize the importance of being aware of their local communities, even if it means getting outside of their comfort zones and getting involved.”
The film will debut May 11th at Drexel’s URBN Center.-30-
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