TIFF 2016: Citizen Jane:Battle For The City@Varsity Theatre+Round Table Interview@Trinity Square Video, 401 Richmond St. W.(Fri.,Sept.9th,2016)
Citizen Jane: Battle For The City
Directed by Matt Tyrnauer
Toronto International Film Festival Docs Programme
Director Matt Tyrnauer, Producer Robert Hammond and Producer Corey Reeser were in Toronto for the premiere were available for interviews.
Before she became one of Canada’s greatest public intellectuals, a defender of Toronto’s diverse urban
fabric, and patron saint of wrecking-‐ball resistance
, Jane Jacobs was already a city savior.
Jacobs, the journalist, activist, and author of the paradigm-‐changing The Death And Life Of Great American Cities
, defined her life’s mission in the most storied city of our time: New York.
There she honed her ground-‐breaking theories, and a new understanding of how a healthy city functions, covering everything from cryptic designs of manhole covers, the inner workings of different types of city markets, to public housing and urban renewal plans. She found herself in a time and place where the people
centred cities of the early 20th Century were in large part under relentless attack in the name of what was at the time thought to be progress.
“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”
– Jane Jacobs
“There must be people who are discommoded, inconvenienced, or call it what you will, on the old theory that you can’t make
an omelet without breaking some eggs.” – Post-‐War New York urban renewal czar Robert Moses
Citizen Jane: Battle For The City is the story of how Jane Jacobs spent the ‘50s and ‘60s battling for the integrity of New York City, and how she formed livability and devised tactics of that have been embraced all over North America and the world. This past May 5, 2016, marked the centenary of Jane Jacobs.
Citizen Jane: Battle For The City begins its tale with the backstory of post-‐WWII architectural and urban design. It’s the story of the mass embrace of modernistic and was at the time universally known as urban renewal. Remaking the cities and wiping the slate clean, that, in fact, involved the removal of whole neighbourhoods, often labeled “slums” in favour of high‐rise “projects” and an emphasis on expressways and the car centred city. Urban renewal tended to gut the human scaled city, dispensing with the street and sidewalk, and people centred environments the kind of urbanism that serves the desires and needs of citizens—in favour of top-‐down institutional projects that, in the end, killed cities.
The activism inspired and led by Jacobs literally hit the road, as she led the fight against expressways in Lower Manhattan, the Bronx and an extension of Fifth Avenue that would have all but wiped out Greenwich Village’s Washington Square Park. The movement she fostered spread across the U.S. and some parts of the world. Today her radical ideas for human-‐scaled urbanism are considered merely common sense. She eventually moved to Toronto and was instrumental in stopping the Spadina Expressway.
Citizen Jane: Battle For The City is also the story of a fight that carries on—particularly in the developing world, where 1.5 million people are urbanized yearly, and in countries like China.
The film is a Robert Hammond and Matt Tyrnauer production with ALTIMETER FILMS.
Produced and Directed by Matt Tyrnauer
Produced by Robert Hammond
Produced by Corey Reeser
Executive Produced by Pierre Legrange, Bernard Legrange and Juliet Page
The Round Table interview with Citizen Jane: Battle for the City director Matt Tyrnauer and producers Robert Hammond and Corey Reeser was held at Trinity Square Video at 401 Richmond St. W.
We would like to thank Ingrid Hamilton and Brian Geldin from Gat P.R. for the invitation to the movie and Round Table interview.