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Even the Walls


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Even the Walls

As Seattle’s historic Yesler Terrace housing project is torn down for redevelopment, a community examines what makes a place a home.

Available for streaming from May 1, 2017 – August 30, 2019

A historic housing project, Yesler Terrace, was home to many of Seattle’s low-income residents for decades. But as the value of Seattle’s property increased, Yesler Terrace became prime real estate and was slated for redevelopment into a mixed-income neighborhood. The residents faced a tough decision: stay or leave? Even the Walls is an intimate portrayal of how a city’s rising fortunes have left many residents behind . It begs the question: What makes a place a home?

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Yesler Terrace, a nearly 30-acre site near downtown Seattle, was developed by the Seattle Housing Authority in the early 1940s as the state’s first publicly subsidized housing community and the first racially integrated public housing development in the United States. For seven decades, it served as affordable housing for many of Seattle’s low-income residents, including thousands of people of color, immigrants and refugees. But as Seattle’s cost of living and property values increased with the influx of wealth connected to the city’s massive tech industry, this once-vibrant community of black, white and brown people became targeted by gentrification.

Even the Walls tells the story of Yesler Terrace and the people who, for generations, called this community home. As the city’s housing authority started to redevelop the area, the residents were forced to decide, after redevelopment, if they would return to their former homes — now unrecognizable — or move on for good.

Even the Walls is an intimate portrayal of how city’s rising fortunes have left many residents behind. It begs the questions: What makes a place a home? Is it the buildings or is it people who live within them?

About the filmmakers

Saman Maydani is a filmmaker and creative educator. Her work examines oppression and power through personal narratives, with a special focus on representing women and other non-dominant cultures. Her Iranian/English heritage and a childhood, spent in Niger and Kenya, inform her interest in our shifting global and cultural identities and in social transformation. She has worked in production, editing and distribution for documentary, narrative and public health education films in New York and Seattle.

Sarah Kuck is a filmmaker and journalist with nearly a decade of multimedia storytelling and editing experience. She has helped produce, shoot and edit several short and feature-length films. Kuck has called more than 15 cities home and is greatly interested in the idea of culture and place, global mobility and community. She currently lives in Austin, Texas, where she works as a video editor and a director of photography.

Canh Nguyen is an Asian-American photographer living and working in Seattle. He has exhibited at numerous galleries across the Pacific Northwest. His projects include documenting an invisible homeless community beneath the freeways of Seattle as well as intimate portraits of South Seattle, one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the country.


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