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Sophie Constantinou (San Francisco) collaborating with Urban Strategies, Inc. (San Francisco)

Award: $40,000 Media Arts Grant awarded in 2012

Presented: In process

Filmmaker Sophie Constantinou is collaborating with Urban Strategies, Inc. to create a 20-minute documentary that tells the story of Tyrone Mullins and Demario Lee, two young-adult residents of public housing who developed a trash cleanup and recycling business, Green Streets, for their housing complex in San Francisco.

Two years later, Green Streets employs 19 workers, many of whom have never before held a long-term job. Shared ownership and responsibility, along with decision-making by consensus, have been essential to the organization’s success. Now Green Streets seeks to expand into multiple housing projects, which will require it to cross turf lines and gang territories. Its culture will be tested as it grows.

Lead artist Constantinou is a documentary director and cinematographer, recognized for handling difficult subjects with artistry and sensitivity. She photographed and directed the Golden Gate Award-winning Divided Loyalties, a personal exploration of the conflict in Cyprus, and was director of cinematography for the PBS award-winning Maquilapolis, about the movement to change labor practices in United States-Mexican border factories.

Urban Strategies, Inc. specializes in engaging public housing authorities, residents’ associations, and other stakeholders in improving neighborhood conditions. Its project, Green Streets, is a community-operated social venture that currently manages, recycles, and composts waste in three inner-city San Francisco housing projects.