Straight Outta Hunter’s Point on DVD
June 5, 2005
|First-time San Francisco, filmmaker Kevin Epps takes an insider tour of Hunter’s Point, one of San Francisco’s public housing projects. This is a place where he grew up and still lives and only an insider like Epps could shoot such personal footage of Hunter’s Points hustlers, gang members and residents in Straigh Outta Hunter’s Point (SOHP).The film, shot on digital video, begins with a historical account of this neighborhood that includes a brief history of the Hunter’s Point Naval Ship Yard, a closed production and repair facility that continues to pollute and poison the air of the Hunter’s Point resisdents. There is also the Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s Power Point that spews toxic chemicals into the air and water today.
Epps delves into the World War II history, when Hunters Point was the home of African American shipyard workers who migrated from Texas and Louisianna in search of better-paying jobs in a less hostile environment. After the war many of the economic and employment opportunities for blacks dwindled, and poverty, unemployment, and crime set in. By the 1950s, economic devastion had set into this community and has existed for the last 40 years as a third world location.
The film takes you to the recent events of Hunter’s Point, and covers the violent conflict between two neighborhoods from the region, Big Block and Westmob. The two gangs are involved in street crime but both have musical aspirations, producing music and rap artists. There were over 100 shootings between these rival rap labels and the life there is too raw for any of these artists to reach super stardom. Unfortunately, the geographic isolation of this ghetto, will just contribute to intensify their conflict, as this neighborhood is a distant, forgotten San Francisco neighborhood as Epps documents in SOHP
Additionally, SOHP, exposes a culture of life that most Americans cannot imagine. This is not TV or the movies; it is raw, uncensored, footage of one of California’s most impoverished communities. You live their lives and learn how they die through Epps’ camera. Its a wake-up call of how our communities not just in San Francisco, but throughout the country are spiraling into an abyss of drugs, crime, and rapid violence at epidemic levels. This film leaves on wondering, how can a neighborhood such as Hunter’s Point be transformed?
Straight Outta of Hunter’s Point