Squatters, a new feature documentary by Catalina Santamaría, the Calandra Institute’s producer for Italics, was named “Official Selection” at two film festivals in Colombia: MIDBO 23 (International Documentary Encounter Film Festival), and FICCALI (Cali International Film Festival).
At the end of the 1980s, two abandoned buildings in Manhattan’s Lower East Side neighborhoods of the “truquito” and the “maroma” were occupied by a group of young artists, mostly immigrants, who renovated them and turned them into self-sustainable homes outside the boundaries of the law. Santamaría gathers records from multiple sources to chronicle the transformation of Puerta 10 and Umbrella House based on the stories of their singular protagonists. Part of the material in this documentary comes from video recorded by them during the renovation of the buildings in order to document a community that built these houses by hand in order to inhabit them in their own way. This film pays homage to that desire by showing some of the difficulties that come with being a collective utopia, including fragility in the face of time and the looming threat of the system.