Shot in part with Google Glass, Project 2×1 is a short documentary film and grassroots initiative exploring the distinct cultures of the Hasidic and West Indian communities living side by side in the 2 mile x 1 mile area of Crown Heights.
Though these communities have coexisted in the neighborhood for nearly 70 years, they rarely interact. Today, nearly 23 years after the 1991 CrownHeights race riots, some residual tensions persist along with strains of anti-Semitic and racist sentiment, and popular news media continue to cast Crown Heights as a neighborhood of division and violence, particularly as the pressures of gentrification sweep through the community.
Yet we found another reality about Crown Heights – that the distance and tensions dividing these communities often seem as much a matter of habit and complacency as historic grudge.
Project 2×1 challenges that complacency by opening up a window to the unique differences and often surprising similarities within these isolated worlds – exploring themes of spirituality, memory, family, immigration, and celebration. With help from Google Glass, numerous Crown Heights residents take us where we normally could not go—capturing a Hasidic wedding, a West Indian Day Parade float, even bedtime story-telling, all from their own points of view. We were inspired by the stories of a Vincentian pastor who, despite deep personal losses, gives his all to uplift his congregation. We watch as a Jamaican father strives to impart the memory of his homeland to his Brooklyn-born sons, as a Jewish wig shop owner empowers married women through the ritual of hair covering, and as a Rastafarian business owner fights social norms to defend her sacred practices. These stories illuminate the fact that communities like Crown Heights are dynamic mosaics of individuals, each with a unique story.
Locally, Project 2×1 harnesses the power of storytelling to drive cultural awareness and inspire inter-community dialogue in the Crown Heights, Brooklyn neighborhood. Universally, the project aims to encourage more people to get to know their neighbors.
Impact and vision
Founded as a conversation-building movement, Project 2×1 measures its successful impact as reflected through our coverage in national and local media, and more tangibly, through the dialogue fostered at our interactive screenings. At the film premiere of Project 2X1, we united a cross-section of nearly 300 diverse community members in an unprecedented demonstration of neighborhood unity and cultural celebration.
We aim to continue to support our mission and deepen our impact by:
Hosting more screenings
Building more community partnerships that inspire ongoing grassroots activity
Pursuing media development opportunities that allow us to tell more stories about the neighborhood and its beautiful people