Harlem Diary
About IDFA
Harlem Diary
IDFA 1995

Harlem Diary

Jonathan Stack
United States
94 min
Festival history
The New York quarter of Harlem is not the easiest place for a child to grow up in. Every day the predominantly black inhabitants are confronted with drugs, unemployment and extreme forms of violence. And yet many of them succeed in offering resistance to these negative influences. In this film we are introduced to nine youngsters who do not reconcile to the downward spiral and who, all in their individual ways, make their contribution to the quality of life in their world. Like Nikki, a 18-year-old single mother, who wrote a play to commemorate her murdered friend. And Jermaine, who acts as a father figure to his younger brother and goes to college to set a good example to him. Or 16-year-old Rasheem, who puts his energy in a boxing career rather than in street fights. The main characters from Harlem Diary are introduced by writer and sociologist Terry Williams. He guides the spectator through Harlem and expresses his respect for these young people' resilience and positive attitude. Apart from interviews, the film contains footage that was shot with a simple video camera by the protagonists themselves. It is clear from these video diaries that underneath the surface Harlem has lots of positive features, if you put aside the stock prejudices.
Screening copy