‘Gente-fied’ will bring Boyle Heights to Sundance Film Festival

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Gente-fied—a seven-episode video series dealing with the hot topic of gentrification in Los Angeles’ Boyle Heights neighborhood—will screen at the Sundance Film Festival next year, according to cast member and executive producer America Ferrera, who shared the news on Instagram.

“Now, more than ever, we need to see our stories and hear from our generation of artists,” Ferrara posted on Instagram.

The show will screen the first three episodes of the bilingual show from Macro Ventures, which was shot around Boyle Heights’ historic First Street. Marvin Lemus created and directed the series and co-wrote it with Linda Yvette Chavez.

Gente-fied deals with those who are struggling with and adapting to the changes that come as new, more affluent people move into Boyle Heights and long-term, less affluent residents are displaced. The serio-comic series showcases Latinos in front of and behind the camera.

“I never would’ve imagined that I would be doing this with a project that I set out to make to fill a huge void,” Lemus posted on Facebook. “A series that reflects all of me. Something that is both unapologetically Mexican and American.”

“I’m not from Boyle Heights, but to everyone who is, I really want you to know this series is a big ass love letter to you,” Lemus said. “Through this project, through spending countless hours on your streets, through too many cups of Cafe de Olla, I’ve fallen in love with that place y la gente. Through this series, I’ve grown as a Xicano and have been able to embrace my identity in ways I’ve been struggling to my entire life. Thank you.”

Last month, co-star Yareli Arizmendi told Curbed that the show “humanizes an issue [gentrification] that otherwise, … if it doesn’t touch you directly, then you wouldn’t turn to look at it and to think about it.”

Gente-fied will screen as part of Sundance’s Short-Form Episodic Series program, described as a celebration of new voices in the video medium that defy broadcast boilerplates with a redefinition of traditional episodic conventions. Here’s the festival’s official description of the show:

“Seven characters deal with the effects of change in LA’s Boyle Heights. Bicultural millennials and old-school business owners hustle to create spaces that celebrate their Latino identities—even while faced with rent hikes, a housing crisis, and a steady stream of outsiders threatening to gentrify their barrio. The Festival will debut three episodes of this short- form episodic series.”

You can follow Gente-fied on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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