Mountain Dreams Presents “A Decent Home” Screening, a Panel to Highlight the Lives of Mobile Home Park Residents
Investors buying and selling mobile home parks have become an affordable housing issue in Colorado communities including Dotsero, Gunnison and Silverthorne.
The subject is at the center of director Sara Terry’s new documentary, “A Decent Home.” The film is screened for free by Mountain Dreamers at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 20 at Colorado Mountain College, 107 Denison Placer Road, Breckenridge.
Mountain Dreamers executive director Peter Bakken said the immigrant-related organization was approached about the film by Thistle – a Boulder nonprofit working with Resident Owned Communities USA to help residents buy their homes. own mobile home parks, which recently made a presentation to the Summit Board of County. Commissioners.
Mountain Dreamers has screened other documentaries before, like “The Quiet Force,” which focuses on immigrant labor in ski communities. The upcoming event will feature a panel with filmmaker Sara Terry. co-producer Gretchen Landau, State Representative Julie McCluskie and local residents of Summit County Mobile Home Parks.
The film is in English and Spanish with subtitles, and Mountain Dreamers will provide simultaneous interpretation in English and Spanish during the discussion.
“We do them as they come, and now that the pandemic has subsided, we hope to do more of this stuff now that we can do public events again,” Bakken said.
Although local mobile home parks aren’t featured in the film, Terry did spotlight Denver Meadows Park in Aurora. Terry spent about six and a half years on the film, with the Denver Meadows story and the 2019 city council election taking up about three of those years. She discovered the park shortly after the locals started fighting, and she wanted to document their struggle to give the film a narrative.
“(The movie) needed a beginning, a middle and an end,” Terry said. “It was too late for me if a park had already been sold.”
Terry ended up filming four trailer parks out of the 10 she originally envisioned. The others are Golfview Mobile Home Park in North Liberty, Iowa, Santiago Villa in Mountain View, California, and Baker and Birch, in Boscawen, New Hampshire. The New Hampshire park is a success story with residents buying the properties, while the Mountain View locality shows inequality in Silicon Valley.
“I potentially challenge the stereotypes a viewer might have about ‘trailer trash’ and the things they think they know about mobile home parks,” Terry said. “People who work at Google live there because they can’t afford housing.”
Having documentary subjects across the country naturally made it more of a time investment than his previous works, which each took around two years or less. Terry also faced periods of inconsistent funding and long periods of collecting as much footage as possible.
“Every minute, every second of filming that you do could become the opening scene of the movie,” Terry said. ” You do not know. You are not following a script.
The Los Angeles native calls herself an “accidental director” who entered the industry after a career as a journalist and photographer. Her first documentary, the award-winning ‘Fambul Tok’, is about a grassroots forgiveness program in Sierra Leone released in 2011. She then documented the lives of three singer-songwriters for ‘Folk’ in 2013.
For “A Decent Home”, Terry got the idea from reading an article in The Guardian about Mobile Home University, which teaches people how to buy and sell properties. Although she was not actively seeking a third documentary, the story outraged her and she wanted to do something about it.
“When housing at the lowest rung of the American dream is devoured by the richest of the rich, whose dream do we serve?” Terry said. “This housing and the people living there have so few protections in almost every state in the country.”
The project was previously titled “That’s How We Roll,” and footage was used on HBO’s news show “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” for a 2019 segment on mobile homes. Now Terry is in the midst of eight screenings in Colorado – from Boulder to Gunnison – as the film travels the festival circuit. It will also be seen at Durango, Aurora and the Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival.
If people miss Wednesday’s event, the film should return to Breckenridge for the Colorado housing conference in October.