Boston, Oct 27, 2021, — Chinese filmmaker Weiying Olivia Huang(pictured above) won the Best New England Documentary award at the Shawna Shea Film Festival (SSFF) for her documentary film ‘City as Canvas: Above the Free Walls.’ The SSFF is an independent international film festival established in 2012 by the Shawna E. Memorial Foundation Inc. to highlight and support independent films.
‘City as Canvas: Above the Free Walls’ is a portrait of the Modica Way street artist community in Cambridge‘s Central Square. Founded in 2007 as a legal graffiti workspace and public exhibition area, Modica Way has since become known worldwide as ‘Graffiti Alley.’
The film introduces the extraordinary artists who have transformed a public space, illustrating and celebrating through investments of their time, talent and dedication their hopes and concerns both personal and social.
Financed in part by a grant from Cambridge Arts, supported by the Mass Cultural Council, Director Huang spent nearly two years befriending and interviewing many of the artists of Graffiti Alley. As a result the film captures and showcases the depth and variety of creative individuals who devote their free time and resources to sharing their artistic visions.
Ming Yan(pictured above), the film’s editor, said she was overwhelmed by the amount of footage, which took months to sort out. She worked day and night to finish before a first screening, and after receiving feedback, spent another few months finalizing the further editing of images, sound and music for film festival submissions. ”I love graffiti artists and street arts,” she says, “and I think they should be recognized by the public. It was a great experience to work with director Huang on this film.”
After receiving a Best New England Documentary and a Best Human Interest Award from two different film festivals. Eric Taylor(pictured above) is the producer of Marketing and Distribution. He has been broadening the film’s distribution, with around ten screenings already planned for 2022 all over New England.
Huang hopes the film speaks to a younger generation of artists, motivating a conversation about legal graffiti art and culture, and a chance to expand and inspire the murals and public art of the future.