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Q&A With Drew Bachrach, Filmmaker of Watts Waits

You may remember when we brought you the preview of Watts Waits last year, a fascinating documentary that explores the changes coming to the Jordan Downs housing project in Watts. The film is now available to stream in full (click here, or watch below), so we caught up with the film's creator, Drew Bachrach to find out more about his life in Los Angeles.

Favorite taco spot in LA?
For five years I had a painting studio in Venice right behind La Fiesta Brava on Rose. A couple of times a week I was in there ordering the fish tacos. If you get two tacos they give you a whole slab of fish spread out over two tortillas. They just moved down the street and I’m hoping they can make it work at the new location cause I don’t think I can live without those tacos.

When was your first visit to Jordan Downs? What brought you there?
I’m originally from Detroit and I went to school in Chicago. While I was living in the windy city I watched as they city tore down the Robert Taylor homes and Cabrini-Green, two iconic housing projects. I had always regretted not documenting the buildings before they were demolished. When I heard that the Jordan Downs was about to be redeveloped, I made sure to grab a camera and headed down to South Central before it was too late.

What was the most inspiring thing you saw while making your film?
More than 51% of Jordan Downs’ population is under 17 years old. The level of interest that the kids had in the production was really inspiring. More than a few times during the shoot, we had to take a break just so the kids could try out the camera gear

What has the reaction to the film been? What did you subjects think of the final film?
The reaction to the film has been solid. After a year on the film festival circuit the biggest comment I’ve gotten is that people have no clue that Watts is right in the middle of LA. You can see the skyline of downtown LA from the corner of 103rd and Central, yet most Southern California residents have no clue about the big changes that are happening to the city.

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