Thursday, October 7, 2010

Street Films

Are you familiar with Street Films? You should be, they are an amazing organization that in my opinion does more to promote carfree living and alternative transportation than anyone else.

CLARENCE ECKERSON JR is the Director of Video Production for Streetfilms. He’s been documenting advocacy transportation for over ten years and been often referred to as “The hardest working man in transportation show biz,” for his dedication to make difficult concepts more accessible and entertaining to the general public. He’s shot and edited over 150 Streetfilms on an eclectic array of topics.

With no formal video training or education in an urban planning field, Clarence attributes much of his accumulated knowledge to never holding a driver’s license. Much as Jane Jacobs channeled her instincts and absorbed all about her, Clarence was always observant while riding a bike, walking or taking transit for commuting and mobility. Realizing the car was given an unfair advantage in thick, pedestrian cities like NYC - where accommodation of the car intrudes on people’s enjoyment of daily life - he wanted to do something about it.

He began volunteering at Transportation Alternatives in 1997 and soon became the head of their Brooklyn Committee campaign. In an effort to inform and cajole more people into riding bikes, he relinquished the post after two years to develop a successful cable program called bikeTV in 2001. That experience led to eventually being hired by Mark Gorton in 2004 to produce mini documentaries of on street conditions in NYC, a few years later that morphed in to Streetfilms.

99% of all footage he shoots has been by bike, foot, train, or bus, which gives his filmmaking a real, in-the-moment feel. Recently, NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan told him he was the “Great Translator”, a term he also holds near and dear to his heart.

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