South Central Farm Documentary Up For an Oscar Tonight

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Sunday, February 22, 2009
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The 14-acre South Central Farm

The 14-acre South Central Farm

As you’re dazzled by light refracting off one million Swarovski crystals at a very Rockwellian Oscars this evening, there’ll be one award worth watching besides the Mickey Rourke vs. Angelina Jolie faceoff for Biggest Lips. Up for best documentary feature is The Garden, the story of a 14-acre community garden in South Central that was the largest of its kind…until it was bulldozed in 2006 by developer Ralph Horowitz to make way for a Forever 21 warehouse.

Since 2006 the plot has sat vacant while the 350 families locked out of their plots have mounted a massive campaign to combat the warehouse and boycott the retailer. Local residents have even accused project supporters City Councilwoman Jan Perry and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of corruption; last year, the mayor recieved at least $1.3 million in donations from the fast-growing retailer and even took the company’s founders on a trade mission to Asia in 2006. This weekend, protests at Forever 21′s Pasadena location seemed like bittersweet promotion for the documentary, which is currently making the festival rounds. We’ll be pulling for the film—and the displaced farmers—tonight.

Update: The Garden didn’t win, but that’s okay with us because another architecturally-significant film, Man on Wire, about Philippe Petit‘s tightrope walk between the World Trade Center towers, did. After accepting the award, Petit balanced the Oscar on his chin.

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