Filmmakers Mike Kuetemeyer and Anula Shetty teamed up with lifelong community residents Fred Harris and Q Tate to investigate the question: how does change happen in our neighborhood? To find out, they told the stories of a local “power grid” of influential people.

 

“I’m realizing it’s our role now to tell the story of North Philly. Through making films, I’m learning about stuff I didn’t even realize was there. I didn’t know Ms. Nandi and Mr. Khalid still ran the Penny Candy store. I didn’t know Ms. O was up on Lehigh, healing people. I’d never seen a block as clean as Ms. Darlene’s. It’s kind of a push to find stuff out from the hood, for ourselves. North Philly is not a bad place. It’s not the place, it’s the people. And there are a lot of good people here.” — Neighborhood artist Frankin “Q” Tate

Filmmakers Mike Kuetemeyer and Anula Shetty teamed up with lifelong community residents Fred Harris and Q Tate to investigate the question: how does change happen in our neighborhood? They sought to identify and learn from a local “power grid” of influential people.

Two of the people they identified were Nandi and Khalid, an older couple that runs a penny candy store in the neighborhood. Through the lens of the project, Fred and Q realized that the Penny Candy Store is a unique public safety strategy.The two elders sell candy at a discount, but all as a way to offer kids a trusting adult relationship and a safe space to go after school.

The team created a multimedia exhibit about the Penny Candy Store and hosted a party called the “Penny Candy Reunion.” The event screened a short documentary created by Fred, Q, Mike and Anula; displayed 400+ of Ms. Nandi’s thousands of photos of neighborhood children taken over the last 15 years; hosted a story-share booth; and served plenty of candy. 

Watch the first film in the Places of Power series, featuring Nandi, Khalid and the Penny Candy Store.

Anula Shetty

Award-winning filmmaker who explores the power of interactive documentary to create social change.
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