Application - Precious Places 2018: Coming and Going

Deadline: Friday, November 17, 2017
Scribe Video Center's Precious Places Community History Project invites members of neighborhood groups throughout the Philadelphia area to document the buildings, public spaces, parks, landmarks and other sites that hold the memories of our communities and define where we live. Precious Places is an opportunity to make our neighbors aware of Philadelphia’s diverse neighborhoods and the development policies or social forces that often render certain ‘precious places’ out of existence.

Scribe Video Center is seeking groups to participate in 2017-2018. Although all proposals will be considered, in 2018 we are making a special appeal for community histories that reflect on public transportation.

Each group will plan, shoot, and edit a video about their “precious place” with the help of a filmmaker and a research scholar hired by Scribe.  While these facilitators will work closely with participants throughout the course of production, the work itself—the planning, writing, and filming—will be done by members of the community groups. 

This program is free for organizations in Philadelphia, Camden and adjoining counties. No prior experience in filmmaking is required.

Your Precious Place
A “precious place” can be any public space—a club, a street, a building, a park, a church, or any other place that has special meaning to local residents.  Previous Precious Places participants chose subjects as diverse as a beloved jazz club, a hundred-year-old tree, a forgotten cemetery, and the Underground Railroad.  We encourage formal and informal neighborhood groups in Camden and Philadelphia to apply, with a special emphasis on those in Mantua, Powelton Village, North Central, Southwest Philadelphia, Olney, Feltonville and Northeast Philadelphia. While there are no restrictions on which specific places are eligible, we encourage video projects that might serve to address a pressing community concern. Other important criteria are:

· Groups that have the time and capacity to produce a video;

·  Neighborhoods that have buildings or other public places which 1) hold an important community memory; 2) are in danger of being lost; and/or 3) help define the neighborhood;

·  Groups that can identify residents who know the neighborhood’s history and are good storytellers;

·  Neighborhoods experiencing a transition in housing prices, population or landscape;

·  Stories that will have an impact and be of interest to the public at large

·  Projects that explore communities affected by the presence of or lack of access to mass transit.

Producing a documentary video is a chance to honor the local experience and to become the author, not just the subject, of your neighborhood’s history.  In the process of completing a useful video, group members will develop professional production skills they can continue to use to uncover the rich stories of our past. 

Project Timeline

In 2017, applications will be accepted until Friday, November 17, 5 PM. A committee of past Precious Places participants, community leaders, and Scribe staff will select projects to participate.  Selected neighborhoods will spend the following months developing their documentary scripts and learning how to use the video equipment.  In the spring of 2018, selected groups will take part in a day of production, spending the entire day videotaping interviews and documenting places and events in their communities. 

Please feel free to spread the word and invite additional community-based organizations to participate.  We are happy to help you at any point in the application process.  If you have questions please contact Louis Massiah at 215.222.4201 or email We look forward to receiving your application!

The Precious Places Community History Project is supported by Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation,  Union Benevolent Association, The Alston Beech Foundation and the West Philadelphia Promise Zone.
Founded in 1982, Scribe Video Center is a nonprofit media arts center that provides an opportunity for adults and young people to produce videotapes under professional instruction.  Projects exploring personal visions, social issues, and community life are of particular interest to Scribe.
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