Meet the Work of New York-based Activist and Documentary Filmmaker, Emma Francis-Snyder
IN 1970, A GROUP OF YOUNG PUERTO RICAN ACTIVISTS TOOK OVER A DECREPIT HOSPITAL IN NEW YORK CITY, LAUNCHING A BATTLE FOR THEIR LIVES, THEIR COMMUNITY, AND HEALTHCARE FOR ALL.
Introducing New York-based activist and documentary filmmaker, Emma Francis-Snyder, and her debut film Takeover, a documentary work that shines a light on the Young Lords’ resistance movement and their fight for human rights.
In 2015 Ms. Francis-Snyder graduated from the CUNY Baccalaureate Program with the self designed major, “Social Documentation.” Using film she has explored social issues in a creative and critical manner. In 2012 she was awarded the Rosen Fellowship which allowed her and co-director Sara Beth Curtis to document the student movement in Santiago, Chile, creating the documentary GREVE TO EN TOMA.
She is a 2020 Ford Foundation: Just Films grantee. In 2008, as an undergraduate, after seeing Spike Lee’s When The Levees Broke, Francis-Snyder dropped out of college, and moved to Katrina ravaged New Orleans to rebuild houses. In 2012 she returned to New York and joined the fight against the privatization of public education while attending CUNY Brooklyn College. It was there that she began filming – feeling the need to document what she was seeing and doing – bearing witness to moments and acts of courage that would otherwise be lost to history.
“As a director, I want to share positive stories of resistance. I am constantly in awe of the strength, courage, and resilience of ordinary people who stand for change. In my work, I want to celebrate the collective successes and progress in our society, and shed light on the real-life sacrifices that took place for basic human rights. Presently in the U.S. we cling to many of these rights by a thread. Understanding why and how people risked their lives for others, in a world in which profit and power seem the arbiter of success, is ultimately what I want my work to be about; to communicate through cinema, to create films that can serve as agents of inspiration and change. I strive to shape the world we live in to be one that provides all people with the ability to move through life with dignity.”
Takeover! explores the twelve historic hours on July 14, 1970, in which fifty members of the Young Lords Party stormed the dilapidated Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx, drove out their administrative staff, barricaded entrances and windows, and made their cries for decent healthcare known to the world. They raised the Puerto Rican flag atop the building, as well as a banner reading “The People’s Hospital” – a nom de guerre still used today. Through archival footage, seamless reenactments, and modern-day interviews, we follow the Young Lords’ resistance against institutions curated by wealth and white supremacy, and their fight for the most basic of human rights: the right to accessible, quality healthcare.
The film endeavors to capture the imagination of a new generation of activists, and suggest actions that ordinary citizens can take to change the conversation — and the country. It is more vital than ever before that the bravery and behavior of the Young Lords be shown, celebrated, and built upon today.
All media and sources courtesy of Emma Francis-Snyder, New York Times, Young Lords, and Market Road Films.