The Urban Anthropology Project   (2006) 70 minutes   Durham, NC

Director: Nick Karner

With: Sabri Reed, Andrew Barco, Greg Shelnutt, Solomon Burnette

 

History and Trivia:

     I read about the Urban Anthropology Project in the Independent Weekly. I was intrigued by the concept and arranged a meeting with the creators, Sabri Reed and Andrew Barco. They were amiable and very in tune with the goings-on in Durham.  I proposed I follow them around as they met with artists and set up the show at the Transom Gallery. They proposed I also do an art piece, perhaps a film installation or something like that, but I said I was only interested in making a documentary about them.

     Although I found what they were doing fascinating and the artists were certainly good interviews, it was difficult to make a story out of the footage I was capturing. In the end, I cut a 70-minute version and gave it to Sabri and Andrew to do with as they pleased. Film festival submissions are very expensive and I didn't feel the film had enough of a chance to make it on the circuit.

     Definitely click on the "More Info" tab to the right. It describes, in much greater detail, what the UAP was and provides more still frames as well as a description of what the project was really about.   Most of the interviews were pretty standard stuff, but I did come across a couple who had decided to go "off the grid." Below is a still of a caravan-looking home, and they were planning on completely abandoning their normal lives and live as gypsies, traveling and living out of this homemade mobile home. I'll never forget that, nor will I forget the final night of the gallery show. The Durham Bulls ballpark is only a few blocks away, and we climbed a building to watch the fireworks. It was quite beautiful, until someone said we weren't supposed to be up here and the police were coming. We booked it out of there. I never knew whether the police actually showed up.

     As a time capsule, it is very interesting in that I was filming just as Durham was getting a "face-lift," so to speak, around Main Street. Lots of construction, so my footage pre-dates the revamped look parts of downtown Durham  have now.