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DECADE OF FIRE Screening + Q&A with Producers/Directors Vivian Vázquez Irizarry & Gretchen Hildebran

November 20, 2019 @ 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm


Join us for a film screening of Decade of Fire, the acclaimed documentary which tells the story of the burning of the South Bronx in the 1970s. This screening presented by Women Writing Women’s Lives, the Center for the Study of Women and Society, the Gotham Center for New York City History and the Center for the Humanities is a tribute to honor the life, work, and memory of Suzanne Wasserman, a documentary filmmaker, feminist, activist, past director of the Gotham Center, and member of Women Writing Women’s Lives.

The film will be followed by a discussion with the filmmakers Gretchen Hildebran and Vivien Vázquez Irizarry.

Decade of Fire began as a research project and evolved into a cutting-edge documentary about the destruction of a community and its rise out of the ashes. This powerful film illustrates what can be accomplished when praxis meets theory, when research meets civic action, when knowledge uncovers civic dissembling.

In the 1970s the South Bronx was on fire. Abandoned by the city government, nearly half a million people were displaced as their close-knit, multi-ethnic neighborhood burned to the ground. Black and Puerto Rican residents were blamed for the devastation. Using a rich seam of archival and home movie footage, Decade of Fire follows narrator Bronx-born Vivian Vázquez Irizarry as she pursues the truth.

About the Filmmakers

Gretchen Hildebran is a documentary filmmaker and editor whose work lives at the intersection of politics, policy and human experience. Credits include: WORTH SAVING (2004), which was presented in HBO’s Frame by Frame showcase; OUT IN THE HEARTLAND (2005) which explored anti-gay legislation in Kentucky. A 2005 graduate of Stanford’s documentary program, Gretchen shot Ramona Diaz’s THE LEARNING (2011) and has edited for the History Channel, PBS and the United Nations Development Programme, as well as on independent documentaries. Gretchen has also made a series of short documentaries used to educate communities across the country about life-saving interventions such as needle exchange and overdose prevention.

An educator and facilitator, Vivian Vázquez Irizarry ran educational and youth leadership development programs at the Coro Foundation, Bronxworks, and is currently the director of community-school partnerships at the New Settlement Community Campus. Vázquez Irizarry managed educational youth development models in GED completion and college access programs across New York City. A former member of the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights, she is a member of 52 People for Progress, a community organization that saved her childhood playground and revitalized the South Bronx for the last 35 years.

Co-sponsored with Women Writing Women’s Lives, the Center for the Humanities, and the Gotham Center for New York City History.


November 20, 2019
5:30 pm - 8:00 pm


Segal Theater
Graduate Center, CUNY
New York, NY United States
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