Tracker Pixel for Entry

​New documentary commemorates New Direction

by John Showalter | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Cinema | April 19th, 2017

Even though I didn’t discover the place until a little over a month before it closed last September, The New Direction left an indelible impact on me. The sense of community, do-it-yourself attitude, and love of local and independent music struck a chord in me in that short span of time, so I can only imagine the impact it had on those who had been regularly attending performances there for years.

The sheer energy of the place left an impact on someone else whose experience was about as cursory as my own. Oscar De Leon of local film production company Chamber Six Media hadn’t set foot in the place since it was the old location of the Red Raven. He knew the owner, Jack Stenersen, through a web of friends. “I kept hearing about the success of it,” he said. “I was more curious than anything.”

In January 2016 he set out to make a little ten-minute piece, a “website tease” as he put it, about New Direction and the community surrounding it. Those plans expanded in scope as he heard about the impending closure, and what started as a local culture piece turned into a 33-minute documentary to be presented at the Fargo Theatre this Friday, April 21.

De Leon started Chamber Six Media three years ago with two of his friends, Kevin Ackley and Chris Parsons. “The intention was to do whatever we were interested in, something we’re passionate about,” he said. The subject matter of their output runs the gamut, from short films to a regularly produced political show, a podcast, and even the odd wedding filming.

All three of them would contribute to the creation of the documentary over the months that followed. “We all contributed to the creative bent of the narrative,” as De Leon said. “Filmmaking is a collaborative effort.”

As time went on, they kept up with the happenings at the New Direction, drawn in by the stories of its performances and tight-knit community. “I was wondering what kept young people coming to what was essentially an old basement. I learned it was a lot more than that,” De Leon said.

In the course of making the documentary, De Leon filmed several interviews with the owner of the venue, Jack Stenersen, as well as those who regularly volunteered at and patronized the New Direction. Once he caught wind that the place was closing due to a hike in rent prices, he decided to expand the documentary to include that as well.

He had originally intended to release the documentary in December of last year, but when he found out that New Direction would be holding another New Direction Fest at the Aquarium despite the closure of the physical venue, he knew he had to extend production to include it.

“It was kind of a beautiful ending, bittersweet, speaks to the essence of the venue,” he said. “It’s a good thing it’s going to be continuing in one form or another.”

De Leon hopes that the film can address another subject besides that of the enduring legacy of a well-beloved music venue on its patrons. “It’s a documentary not only about a venue but about a place that ultimately was the victim of gentrification,” he said. He hoped that by telling this story from a Fargo perspective that the point could really be driven home that gentrification can happen in big cities and smaller towns alike; and that the effects that this hot-button issue can have are not just economic but emotional.

In this way, perhaps the film can serve as a cautionary tale about the risks we can run in pursuit of economic gain. How much can more money for a town mean if we lose part of its soul? This documentary will help contribute to that conversation and keep its spirit alive.

IF YOU GO:

TND documentary premiere

Friday, April 21, 7-9pm

The Fargo Theatre, 314 N Broadway

Recently in:

BISMARCK – The Dakota Access Pipeline developer agreed to plant trees to reach a settlement over two misconduct allegations while constructing the pipeline on Wednesday. A total of 20,000 trees are to be planted by December 31,…

photo by Meg Luther Lindholm.Ibtissem (pronounced Ib-tiss-em) Belmihoub is both enjoying her time in Fargo as a doctoral student in Rhetoric, Writing and Culture at NDSU and a community volunteer. She is currently the Project…

Wed-Fri, September 27-29, 8pm; Sat-Sun, 2pmComstock Theatre, Concordia College, 901 8th St S, MoorheadIt is October, 1517, at Wittenberg University in northern Germany, where students and faculty begin another academic year. A…

Our opinion: We’re more than the sum of our partsOver the weekend I was telling a friend of mine that one of the most valuable things a person can gain in life is perspective. My time at the High Plains Reader has gifted me just…

What kind of characters would charge $99 for a case of water?In the days before the solar eclipse safety glasses sold for $8.95 for a five-pack of certified glasses. The day before the eclipse the price was raised to $59. During…

The moment of truth has arrived. After seven weeks of sampling and judging some of the finest libations in the area the results for this year’s Cocktail Showdown have arrived. Christopher Larson, Raul Gomez and Sabrina Hornung…

Brand new and satisfying in so many waysI ventured into Tru Blu on Sunday at noon. As soon as I entered I was immediately astonished by the interior. It’s gorgeous! The brown tufted booths and dark wood give the impression that…

Fall is arriving, and that of course means that the new season of the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra’s “Masterworks” series sponsored by Sanford Health is right around the corner.In the last couple concert seasons they…

Rom-coms are a staple of modern movies and have been for well over a century. This summer two very different variations on the genre spotlighting iconic 20th-century superstars made their Blu-ray debuts from Kino-Lorber. One is a…

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. This nonprofit organization described their mission as “To identify students with their exceptional artistic and literary talent and…

‘Heathers’ hits the Empire stage in Grand ForksBefore the pink-clad Plastics or Cher’s group of popular beauties in “Clueless,” the shoulder pad-wearing, croquet mallet-wielding Heathers ruled the halls of Westerberg High…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

Up here where it’s north of normal, we can pretty much count on our first cold snap to hit right about now, and the 90 degree day we JUST HAD seems like a distant memory. Goodbye pool parties, BBQs and the patio hang sesh. Hello…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

By Robert Franklin, Esq.parents@nationalparentsorganization.orgIn North Dakota, a child’s chances of spending meaningful time with each parent following divorce have less to do with his parents than what county they divorce…