ST PAUL, Minn. — This month, we are recognizing the contributions of African Americans around our country.
Right here in the Twin Cities, a group of students from St. Paul are making history.
Students from the High School for Recording Arts created a documentary about how Rondo, a once thriving neighborhood, was torn apart by a freeway.
Now, film festivals around the world have invited them to share their work.
The first, this weekend in New York. "Rondo: Beyond the Pavement" has been chosen to screen at the Yofi Microfest Black History Month Showcase.
Yofi Fest is considered one of the top 100 film festivals in the world.
Jev Morris, a student at High School for Recording Arts, said he hopes this film helps build bridges.
“Learning about what happened in the Rondo community while interviewing those who witnessed their homes being destroyed was heartbreaking. It was astounding the resilience they showed. It lit a fire in me,” Morris said. “Rondo never stopped trying to rebuild what was there. It gave me a lot of confidence in myself to go after what I love to do in life. I learned that I-94 going through Rondo was a power struggle to limit what the black community could actually do. It didn’t stop us at all.”
Scott Herold, the school's Business of Music Instructor, said at film festivals students will have the opportunity to discuss how they created the film and network with professionals in the media industry. The students won't be able to attend the festival in New York this weekend but fundraising efforts are underway for the future.
They have also been asked to showcase their work at this year's South by Southwest festival. The school has created a GoFundMe site to help with finances to attend the festivals.
“This type of learning experience can be a powerful and transformative experience for HSRA students,” Scott Herold said. “We do not want to deny a life-changing learning experience for our students simply because we do not have the funding.”
"Rondo: Beyond the Pavement" was made in partnership with Saint Paul Almanac and Saint Paul Neighborhood Network. See film trailer and podcast page here.