America Reframed

Dignity Harbor

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One of nine documentary nominees for the 2012 Student Academy Award, Dignity Harbor chronicles a group of homeless people living in an encampment along the Mississippi River in downtown St. Louis. In the shadow of the Arch, several makeshift communities - Hopeville, Sparta, and Dignity Harbor - are erected when work begins to fill the tunnels under Tucker Boulevard, displacing many homeless. In Dignity Harbor, the self-appointed mayor promises a safe environment - women are especially to be welcomed - and the residents work cooperatively to cut wood and build rudimentary shelters. But conflicts inevitably arise, tempers occasionally flare, and everyone struggles to survive the harsh St. Louis winter. Although the utopian dream finally dies for good when the city bulldozes the shantytowns, not all is lost, with several of the residents moving to more permanent housing.



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