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Catalog Data

Produced by:
Elmcor Youth and Adult Activities, Inc., American, founded 1965  Search this
Owned by:
Pearl Bowser, American, 1931 - 2023  Search this
acetate film, plastic and cardboard
Duration: 24 Minutes
Length (Film): 880 Feet
sound films
color films (visual works)
16mm (photographic film size)
Place filmed:
Corona, Queens, New York City, New York, United States, North and Central America
Harlem, New York City, New York, United States, North and Central America
ca. 1975
A documentary short with the title Thirty Minutes from Harlem, created by filmmakers of the Elmcor Production Program of the Elmcor Youth & Adult Activities, Inc., of Corona, NY. The film was created by Bill Moore and directed by Robert Judd. It consists of a single reel of 16mm color acetate film with optical sound (2012. with original plastic reel (2012. and cardboard container (2012.
The film begins with the Elmcor program director, Ottley Brownbill, discussing why investment in the community is a better solution to drug use than simply providing methadone to addicts. This is followed by a title sequence featuring street scenes in Corona/East Elmhurst and a funk music soundtrack. The next scene returns to the interview with Brownbill; the camera zooms out to reveal two colleagues, William Dobie, and Victor McLaughlin, sitting on either side of him. The three men discuss the early drug counseling programs sponsored by Elmcor, and how their current strategies differ by focusing more on larger social programs. As the interview goes on, street scenes around the neighborhood are shown. The conversation shifts to a discussion of the need to take control of local institutions, so that the community can have a say in how it is managed. The film then shifts to an extended montage of street scenes shot in both Harlem and Corona/East Elmhurst backed by funk music.
Following the montage, the film returns to the interview of the three men. The conversation again focuses on how the community needs to have control over local institutions in order to raise itself out of poverty. It is also mentioned that in terms of the conditions that have led to poverty, nothing separates Corona/East Elmhurst from Harlem or Bed-Stuy. Shots taken at a construction site are shown as the three talk about Elmcor's success in building its own facilities. Next, Lucius Benson, another Elmcor employee, is interviewed in an unidentified outdoor location. He talks about how he used to take an aggressive, violent approach to combating drug addiction in the neighborhood, but embraced Elmcor's approach when he met Brownbill. The three men expound on the notion that it is the conditions in which people live that drive them to drugs and crime. Jeff Aubry, Elmcor's educational coordinator, is the next to be interviewed. As he gives an overview of the curriculum, several other educational staff members are shown. The film concludes with Brownbill imploring the viewer to invest in the young people of the community and a montage of children playing in the street and at local playgrounds.
African American  Search this
Activism  Search this
Associations and institutions  Search this
Civil Rights  Search this
Communities  Search this
Education  Search this
Film  Search this
Mass media  Search this
Politics  Search this
Race discrimination  Search this
Race relations  Search this
Social reform  Search this
Urban life  Search this
Credit Line:
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Pearl Bowser
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
Unknown – Restrictions Possible
Rights assessment and proper usage is the responsibility of the user.
See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Collection title:
Pearl Bowser Collection
Media Arts-Film and Video
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture