Throughout the 1970’s, fires consumed the South Bronx. Black and Puerto Rican residents were blamed for the devastation even as they battled daily to save their neighborhoods. In DECADE OF FIRE, Bronx-born Vivian Vázquez Irizarry pursues the truth surrounding the fires – uncovering policies of racism and neglect that still shape our cities, and offering hope to communities on the brink today.
Through a rich seam of archival and home movie footage, DECADE OF FIRE confronts the racially-charged stereotypes that dehumanized residents of the South Bronx in the 1970’s, and rationalized their abandonment by city, state and federal governments. Vázquez Irizarry, in her role as the film’s central character and co-director seeks not only healing for her community, but to redeem them from the harmful mythology spread by the media that has continued largely unchallenged to this day. She tells the story of a people who held on, worked to save their community and start anew against impossible odds. The accounts she gathers are supported by extensive research, archival footage, print and broadcast news excerpts, testimonials from retired FDNY firefighters and brass, as well as Bronx historians.
Through exposing the history, and lifting up the stories of survivors whose deep commitment to their homes and communities saved the borough, DECADE OF FIRE offers the emergence of a new narrative for the South Bronx and places like it across the nation.
Hosted and co-produced by:
First Quincy Street Community Garden
397 Quincy Street
Brooklyn, NY 11221
The CINEMA GARDEN PARTY is an intimate, nighttime, outdoor film series serving as inter-neighborhood artistic alternatives for Bedford-Stuyvesant, instilling an enhanced film-centered sensibility, with empowering narratives, into the community -- while also uniting neighbors into public & common spaces with entertainment not commonly provided.
The Cinema Garden Party is sponsored, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC).
The Luminal Theater is a sponsored organization of the New York Foundation for the Arts. NYFA is a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization founded in 1971 to work with the arts community throughout New York State and the United States to develop and facilitate programs in all disciplines.