This is Oakland


Based on a poem by a native Oaklander Yalie Kamara, this documentary short will create a visual mosaic for the city of Oakland, it’s people, and it’s changing social and racial landscape. The poem, titled “On the Myth of Home,” harnesses layers of richly texture imagery to transform preconceived notions of Oakland and it’s people into a celebration of the diverse socio-cultural landscape of this unique city.

We will be tackling both the seen and unseen issues. From the history of the black Panthers to the gentrification of predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods by the overflow of the techies of Silicon Valley. All of these issues are married to one another in a beautifully complex ebb and flow of harmony and disharmony. And as more and more innocent black men and women are killed in senseless acts of police brutality across the nation, the voice of Oakland cannot be ignored.


This is a story that cannot be told by an outsider, and that’s why it is a community-based collaborative effort, bringing together Oaklanders of all walks of life. Everyone involved wants to ensure that we capture the myriad perspectives and textures of the city – where it’s been, where it is, and where it’s going.

We’ve partnered with scholars, local bloggers, artists, and activists treating this piece as both an analysis of the city and a love letter to Oakland itself. Love can be complicated. Like love, Oakland has its light and its dark, its struggles and its successes, but no matter what side you’re on one thing is clear: Oakland = community.


Currently in pre-production. We have gone on an exploratory trip throughout Oakland, from the shores of the Port of Oakland to the highest peak – and that’s no exaggeration. Along the way we have met people young and old, artists and entrepreneurs, all offering their support to make sure the project represents “The Town” as it truly is. Currently considering 3 separate docu-videos to flesh out the story, highlighting the voices of Oakland in addition to its palpable energy, recognizing that they are one and the same.

Pictured left: Max Gibson, journalist, entrepreneur, and founder of Wine and Bowties.

“This poem is about the enchanting and intense object of my affection: Oakland. ‘On The Myth of Home,’ is a poem that reads as a love letter to ‘The Town,’ and gives attention to the reasons why this city is magical and has so many folks that genuinely love it, in spite of its obvious imperfections and shortcomings. As part of this project, we are hoping to incorporate some of the voices of the people that we admire the most in Oakland. It is our hope that learning more about locals’ unique relationship with the city might expand the scope of how the film is shot and change how people perceive ‘The Town.'””

YALIE KAMARA, poet and writer of ‘On the Myth of Home’


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