Documentary Seeks To Illuminate Plight Of LES Squatters From Two Decades Ago

November 18, 2014 | Prachi Gupta

A new documentary-in-the-making seeks to recapture the spirit of the ’90s-era Lower East Side squatters and their fight with the NYPD under then-New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. Anytime, Baby: The War for the Lower East Side, by Queens resident and filmmaker John Frisbie, revisits the sordid era of New York City’s housing crisis. Guiliani and Bratton began evicting squatters in marginalized neighborhoods, even resorting to violence and militant force. Using “interviews, archival footage and adaptation of work that was created at the very time of the battle,” Frisbie aims to show the very literal “war for those homes” and share the stories of those who squatted during the chaotic era.

The film is in its pre-production phase, and is asking for a modest $4,600 by December 13 via Kickstarter. In addition to asking people to share the project by word-of-mouth, Frisbie is seeking collaborators:

Secondly, we are looking to gather more pieces of that past and put them into this project. Whether through oral histories recorded or artifacts such as archival footage and stills, we need to pull the memories forward and add them to the narrative that will give it life.

Lastly, we have been given the opportunity to adapt a graphic novel as part of the story. Written by a seminal artist from the Lower East Side who lived this tale, this piece will add structure and give it a creative breath from the past that will pull together the memories, archival pieces and your participation to make the story come alive.

As the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space does, the documentary will help keep the memory of New York’s not-so-distant past alive.