Choice Neighborhood (working title)

: Documentary Feature
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Production


Choice Neighborhood focuses on the dynamics that emerge between people as a city leverages significant public and private dollars to transform a struggling neighborhood.


In South Norwalk, Connecticut, a network of stakeholders (the mayor, key city agencies, common council members, police, business owners, nonprofits, private developers, etc.) are committed to revitalizing a deteriorated, low-income neighborhood and building a diverse, mixed-income community. By immersing the viewer in the process of transformation, Choice Neighborhood (working title) provides an opportunity to reflect upon and better understand low-income housing's history and the challenges posed by neighborhood integration.


"History is literally present in all that we do." — James Baldwin

Our goal is to make a film in which the audience discovers a fresh and unexpected perspective on the legacies of racism.  By embedding ourselves in South Norwalk and closely observing a wide range of actors involved in the processes of neighborhood redevelopment, we are particularly interested in framing the proximity of past and present.  The efforts, conflicts, frustrations, suspicions, and hopes constituting the work of this urban renewal project are all tied tightly to a long record of injustice.  A direct cinema approach will be employed to tease out this embodied history of the people of South Norwalk. 


Leigh Morfoot - Director, Producer, Sound Recordist

Leigh directs and produces films for Kinobserver. She started out at Maysles Films (where she cultivated an appreciation for filmmaking that captures life and lets it speak for itself) and then spent nearly a decade at the American Museum of Natural History production managing Science Bulletins, an innovative, multi-media program that offers the public a window into the excitement of scientific method and discovery.  Leigh earned a B.A. in African-American Studies and English Literature at the University of Virginia and an M.A. in Media Studies at the New School University. The Morfoots narrative short, In-between Worlds premiered at the San Francisco International Film Festival and their feature documentary Citizen 3.0 is distributed by Filmakers Library.

Jason Morfoot - Director, Cameraman, Editor

Jason is a Senior Producer on staff at the American Museum of Natural History where he makes documentaries about scientific research and fieldwork. He holds a B.A. in History from Trinity College and a J.D. from Emory University School of Law. With his wife, Leigh, he is currently directing short, character-driven stories about the experience of being an immigrant in the United States and a documentary that centers on HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative at work in South Norwalk, Connecticut; they are also developing a systemic account of a public school district.

Mellodye “Sweets” Ragin - Producer, Camerawoman

Sweets has worked in the entertainment industry for more than twenty-five years and is the owner of SoNo Entertainment (SoNotainment), a full-service audio and video production company in South Norwalk, Connecticut. SoNotainment also develops local talent and specializes in event promotion. She is a force and voice for the South Norwalk community, as well as a mentor to many talented inner-city youth who she teaches in her L.I.F.T. after school, outreach program. L.I.F.T. courses introduce teens to all aspects of audio and video production (from shooting video to mixing down a live recording session), as well as build confidence and camaraderie.


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