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The Backyard Philly Project Puts Poverty in Perspective

April 29, 2013

Recent PEW research shows that more than a quarter of Philadelphia’s citizens live in poverty, representing the second highest rate among the United States’ 25 largest cities. The cycle of poverty, addiction and violence is one that plagues many neighborhoods like Penn Town – the focus of Westphal alumna Amada Danziger’s gripping new documentary, The Backyard Philly Project.

Filming on the project began in October 2011 when Danziger and her Philadelphia-based film production company Ferasha Films invited four Penn Town high school students to document their lives and their views of Philadelphia poverty through video journals using flip cameras. The film also focuses on the role of the Kyle Korver Foundation’s Helping Hand Rescue Mission, which serves as a safe haven for the neighborhood. “Although small in area, Penn Town consists of 400 housing units, mere blocks away from historic Philadelphia sites, including the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall,” Danziger explains. “We knew from the beginning that there are certain elements of this neighborhood and this life that we as outsiders would not have access to on our own.”

Entertainment & Arts Management program and Ferasha Films will host the premiere of The Backyard Philly Project on May 11 in the URBN Center Annex, but that performance has sold out. Tickets for the May 10 screening event and opportunities to become a sponsor of the two-night premiere event can be found at

“The evening will be much more than just a film screening on May 11th,” says Danziger, recently named to Drexel Magazine’s “Forty Under 40” list of successful young alumni. “It will be a tangible experience of teen life in Penn Town with a photo gallery, chance to met the young ‘stars’ of our film and more.”