UNZIPPED: AN AUTOPSY OF AMERICAN INEQUALITY
From the award-winning writer & director, Colin K. Gray, produced by The Sibs and executive produced by Lucy Liu, UNZIPPED: An Autopsy of American Inequality is a searing exposé of the growing affordable housing crisis in America. This intimate feature documentary focuses on one of the country's most iconic and income divided zip codes, Venice CA 90291. Once a mecca for artists, outsiders and a thriving black community, Venice is now the frontline for America's heated battles over gentrification, lack of affordable housing, and homelessness.
With moving, personal profiles of several artist families who struggle to remain in their neighborhood, to bitterly contested community fights over a proposed homeless shelter, UNZIPPED explodes stereotypes and humanizes the lived experiences of people caught in the crossfire of America's growing housing divide.
Lack of basic shelter is a global humanitarian crisis.
Over 1.6 billion people live in substandard housing.
Over 1 billion people live in slums or settlements.
Lack of affordable housing is also a growing American crisis.
On any given night, over 550,000 Americans are homeless.
Nationally, there is a shortage of over 7.2 million low income housing units.
America’s widening income divide is inexorably linked to the affordable housing crisis.
In order to humanize the abstract statistics and divisive rhetoric around homelessness, poverty and affordable housing, UNZIPPED focuses on one zip code and the lived experiences of several families on the front lines of America’s housing divide. Iconic Venice Beach, CA, 90291.
World renowned as an eclectic and diverse artistic epicenter, as well as California’s #1 tourist beach destination, Venice is also known as one of the only beach communities of color. But that has all changed dramatically in the past two decades.
Venice’s black population has declined almost 50%. Average home sales prices have skyrocketed.
Artists, often the vanguard then the victims of the gentrification tsunami, are increasingly priced out of the neighborhood. And Venice’s homeless population has doubled to over 2,000 people in the past three years.
This story isn’t unique to Venice. It is happening in zip codes across the country. This is why we made this film. With a local lens on a national issue, UNZIPPED shines a light on the structural inequity that America’s housing and healthcare systems are built upon.
While the housing crisis existed long before COVID-19, the confluence of millions of American’s losing their jobs has only made it worse, particularly set against California’s soaring home prices, escalating rents, and the displacement that follow in places like Venice.
Meanwhile, the homeless crisis in Venice continues to escalate year after year. Most shockingly, an average of 3 homeless citizens die every day, on the streets of L.A. County.
Topical & timely, UNZIPPED: An Autopsy of American Inequality is about one zip code. But by shining the light on one community, we hope to inspire people to get involved in the growing movement to enshrine housing as a human right.
UNZIPPED’s award-winning, diverse and BIPOC representative filmmaking team (The Green Knight, The Square, Black Boys, Being Canadian, Freedom’s Fury, Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road, Miss Juneteenth, Atari: Game Over) is led by acclaimed writer, director & producer, Colin K. Gray; producers Megan Raney Aarons, C.J. Gronner, and Jamila C. Fairley; executive producers Tim Headington, Theresa Steele Page, Elliot Kotek, Amaechi Uzoigwe, Lorien Gabel and Lucy Liu; DP Tyler Heckerman; editors Davide Fiore and Mohamed El Manasterly; and an all-women graphic design team And/Or Studios. The score is composed by Leo Z and features tracks by renowned rap duo, Run The Jewels, along with, DAP The Contract.
The film is produced by GRAiNEY PICTURES in association with
Ley Line Entertainment, Still Moving Pictures & The Nation of Artists.
UNZIPPED: An Autopsy of American Inequality had its world festival premiere on October 24th 2021 at Newport Beach Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature. It then screened at the virtual American Black Film Festival (ABFF) Nov 3-28th. More festival screenings will be announced soon, followed by distribution and anticipated release in 2022.
UNZIPPED was recently nominated for a Black Screen Award in the Outstanding Independent Documentary category.
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A strategic social impact campaign to support local and national affordable housing initiatives - #RaiseTheRoof - is being designed with The Raben Group to rollout alongside the film’s release. (The Raben Group credits include He Named Me Malala, Waiting For Superman, Just Mercy, All In and An Inconvenient Truth).
Numerous NGOs, foundations, and corporate partners active in the affordable housing, anti-displacement and homelessness spaces are lining up around the documentary and are passionate about amplifying the film’s reach, sales and impact.
UNZIPPED will also be donating 10% of all film proceeds to affordable housing and homelessness focused NGOs and orgs.
Sign Up Here to get news about our upcoming #RaiseTheRoof social impact campaign, our interactive Zip Code tracker and more.
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