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Flag Wars

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PBS Premiere: June 17, 2003


Shot over a four-year period, Linda Goode Bryant and Laura Poitras’ Flag Wars is a poignant and very personal look at a community in Columbus, Ohio, undergoing gentrification. What happens when gay white homebuyers move into a working-class black neighborhood? As the new residents restore the beautiful but run-down homes, black homeowners must fight to hold onto their community and heritage. The inevitable clashes expose prejudice and self-interest on both sides, as well as the common dream to have a home to call your own. Winner of the Jury Award at the South by Southwest Film Festival, Flag Wars is a candid, unvarnished portrait of privilege, poverty and local politics taking place across America. An Independent Television Service (ITVS) and National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) co-presentation. A Diverse Voices Project (DVP) Selection.

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TAGS: african american, gay, gentrification, ohio, race

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Film Information

Flag Wars (54 min.)

Premiere Date: June 17, 2003

Trailer: Link | Embed

Filmmakers: Linda Goode Bryant, Laura Poitras Bio | Interview


Linda Goode Bryant
Linda Goode Bryant
Laura Poitras
Laura Poitras

Flag Wars’ narrative structure is designed to ‘drop’ the viewer into the film’s events so they gradually watch the story unfold and come to understand the community through the people who live there, rather than through talking heads or voice-overs.”

— Laura Poitras, Filmmaker


Film Update

Critical Acclaim

“Documentary finesse can . . . be seen in Flag Wars. . . . The film is fascinating point-of-view storytelling.”

&mdash Elvis Mitchell, New York Times

Flag Wars, the extraordinarily moving documentary by Linda Goode Bryant and Laura Poitras, tells the story of an increasingly common but little-documented American phenomenon — the economic and ideological clashes involved in urban gay gentrification . . . Featuring an immediate vérité style, unforgettable subjects, and a hauntingly elegiac jazz score by Graham Haynes, the film is as deeply moving as it is politically astute.”

&mdash The Advocate

The ‘gentrification’ of poor neighborhoods may sound like a good thing, if you're white and middle class. But what about the poorest of the poor who may own a ramshackle house and not have the money to make necessary repairs? This insightful documentary presents a black neighborhood invaded by white gays who seem at first unsympathetic to their black neighbors. But the seed of solution is here and it lies in unselfish volunteerism.”

&mdash M.S. Mason, Christian Science Monitor

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