A fascinating documentary about the history and impact of the Manhattan Plaza apartment complex in New York City. Starting with the history of the blighted Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood and the facilities’ initial commercial failure in the mid-1970s, the story recounts how – in a moment of bold inspiration or maybe desperation – the buildings were “re-purposed” as subsidized housing for people who worked in the performing arts. The social experiment was a resounding success in the lives of the tenants, as well as the neighborhood and local economy. The film makes a compelling case for both the value of subsidized housing for artists in America, as well as the value of supporting the arts to the American economy. The film features on-camera interviews with people whose lives were positively impacted by the complex, including Alicia Keys, Terrence Howard, Donald Faison, Larry David, Samuel L Jackson, Angela Lansbury, and many others.

Alice Elliott (1950, Durham, North Carolina) is an Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker whose films are dedicated to celebrating the role of community activism in elevating the quality of people’s lives. Her short Body & Soul: Diana & Kathy was nominated for an International Documentary Association Award and her films have been presented in over 100 film festivals, as well as on HBO and PBS. In addition to her documentary work, she is a full-time teacher at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.