“Condemned” a Newtown documentary

“Condemned” a Newtown documentary

“Condemned,” a 2005 a feature documentary, exposed scandalous public housing conditions in Sarasota, Florida.

Behind the façade of wealth and privilege in this Gulf Coast city lurked a dirty secret — the Janie Poe housing project. 

In this cluster of derelict low-rise buildings, 128 families fought daily against filth, disease and neglect. Shielded from view by million-dollar high-rise condominiums and sparkling arts venues, the low-income project was out of sight, out of mind for the majority of the city’s predominantly white and increasingly wealthy residents. 

Inside the Janie Poe project, children were forced to sleep with roaches swarming their beds, black mold invading their lungs and raw sewage bubbling up in the yards where they play. By focusing an unflinching spotlight on this slum in one of Florida’s wealthiest cities, this documentary spurred desperate public housing residents, a complacent community, recalcitrant local politicians and the federal government to right decades of neglect and indifference.

“Condemned” premiered at the Sarasota Film Society and screened at the 2005 Sarasota Film Festival, and led to national policy changes with regard to public housing.

Co-produced with Darryl Saffer, with original music by Darryl Saffer.