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Were excited to announce that this years Open/Closed: exploring vacant property in St.

Louis (April 18-23) will kick off with an exclusive sneak peek of the documentary film Spanish Lake. The screening will offer extended clips of the film in progress and will open the Shuttered Film Fest, a series of films focused on issues related to vacancy and urban change. Spanish Lake native and director Phillip Andrew Morton and producer Matt Jordan Smith will attend and lead an open discussion following the screening. Shuttered will feature four films and Open/Closed will present five days of panel discussions and presentations. Additional details to be released. Visit Open/Closed 2011 to review last years event.

Venue: Tivoli Theatre, 6350 Delmar Boulevard Date/Time: Wednesday, April 18 / 7:30 p.m. Cost: FREE Previous article: Spanish Lake and the Middle Class Exodus from North St. Louis County Additional information from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (A son of Spanish Lake returns to do a movie about changes there): Phillip Andrew Morton has made two trips since 2007 to the house at 1238 Maple Street where he grew up. On both occasions, he was shocked at the profound changes the little frame house had undergone in a matter of a few years. Morton, 32, is now an independent filmmaker based in Los Angeles. The rapid transformation of the north St. Louis County community he calls his hometown, though it has never been incorporated, forms the basis of his documentary, "Spanish Lake." "I really wanted to research all the dynamics that went into the phenomenon of white flight in Spanish Lake," Morton said in a recent telephone interview from Los Angeles. "I came away convinced that this is not an issue of race but of class and opportunities." Morton said he hoped the movie will start discussions nationwide on white flight and the effects of government-subsidized housing on neighborhoods. Press inquiries: Alex Ihnen Open/Closed and Shuttered Film Fest 314-941-4929 Matt Jordan Smith Producer, Spanish Lake 818-421-1892 Phillip Andrew Morton Director, Spanish Lake

Open/Closed is an opportunity for local and regional stakeholders, leaders, artists, and activists to recognize unique experiences and lived knowledge about urban change while developing collaborative community responses. St. Louis faces many challenges, but none are more visceral than the thousands of vacant buildings and lots that have a corrosive effect on our community. With one in five addresses currently vacant, the issue cannot be ignored. This challenge demands accountable governance, democratic thinking and inclusive dialogue. This is the route to action.

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