By Mitchell STAFIEJ


Documentary - Pre-Production 2021

Streets of America is a feature length documentary about economic inequality in 21st century U.S.A. as seen entirely through the lens of a dash-cam.

    • Year of production
    • 2021
    • Genres
    • Documentary, Experimental, Social issues
    • Countries
    • CANADA
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 0 - 0.3 M$
    • Duration
    • 90 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Mitchell STAFIEJ
    • Writer(s)
    • Mitchell STAFIEJ
    • Producer(s)
    • Mitchell STAFIEJ, Michael MASSICOTTE (A Massicotte Production)
    • Synopsis
    • Instead of sensationalizing poverty, wealth, industry, and the American dream, Streets of America presents the country for what it is -- through simple, short, always moving sequences. The frame never changes and the car’s speed never changes – instead we are transported across the country with every cut. It is a slow paced, almost-kaleidoscopic representation of the people, landscape, and socio-political climate of the United States of America.

      The U.S. streets, their sounds, the cacophony of people, cars, and wildlife, and the time that the film allots to its viewers all serve to place audiences in the front seat of the car. The film creates a meditative undertow with its slow pace while the exploratory formal aesthetic of the dashcam portrays the U.S.A. in a way it’s never been seen in cinema.

      The film uses juxtaposition and similarities between locations to explore its major themes of inequality. Audiences bear witness to unbiased images of extreme wealth and poverty, abandoned homes and pristine lawns, human experiences, shifting weather courtesy of climate change, flooding, forest fires, beautiful days, decaying architecture, mountain ranges, volcanoes, history, and wondrous national parks and landscapes ravaged by industry. It is a deeply dark and cosmic portrayal of a hugely divided America.

      The sounds of the streets seamlessly blend with the interior of the car and interviews with community leaders, residents, and citizens pierce through the radio static along this lengthy journey offer insight or context to the images of the streets that pass us by.

      This film is made clearly from a Canadian perspective and is largely an 'exploration of the United States of America.' As of now, our long list of locations to explore in this film gives a broad and sweeping view of the country -- no stone left unturned.

      Streets of America wants to avoid labels that may be traditionally applied to it. Instead, it wants to push the documentary form forwards through the search for new techniques in sound and image, and how those techniques can contribute to a political and thematic discourse. Documentary cinema is at a crucial moment in its evolution, where filmmakers are frightened to look past the idea of “information” and “truth” and hesitant to confront new definitions of “character.” This documentary attempts to push the boundaries of what a documentary can and is expected to be.

      This film will pave the way for new ways of thinking about documentary cinema. Phenomenology and the experiential can say far more about a topic or a community’s situation than a subject telling an audience about it. In Streets of America, audiences will be able to feel the experiences of inequality in the United States so that they may understand and empathize with those that struggle with it every day. They will feel and witness it by driving through the disparate and hypnotic streets of the United States of America collectively.