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D.C. Filmmaker Focuses on Gentrification of NE Neighborhood

In his first feature film, “Residue,” art imitates life for aspiring filmmaker, director and D.C. native Merawi Gerima, who recalled the first summer he returned home from film school at the University of Southern California with thoughts about writing his first screenplay.

The project would be a frank look at Gerima’s D.C. hometown and the rate at which gentrification has transformed the city.

“You have no choice but to walk, kind of just seeing the ghosts of your childhood, and, you know, your home and your community left and right. And it may appear surreal to other people but it’s a very real and physical type of existence for Black folks in D.C.,” Gerima said in an interview with WRC-TV (Channel 4) of his gentrified neighborhood.

“It looks a lot different around here,” Gerima said of coming back to his community in Eckington three years ago. “I was like an alien crash-landing in some, you know, brave new world.”

The film focuses on race, gentrification, and issues like police brutality that are revealed through imagery and dialogue between neighbors and confrontations with strangers.

“The film is really about all these things, the pressures bearing down on Black people’s lives,” Gerima said.

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