City Children and Their Cultures: Into the Arroyo


Wednesday, March 20, 2004

A special screening and discussion of the documentary film by Anthony Spirito. 

Previously screened as a work-in-progress and part of City Children: The Social Life of Stress in 2002, INTO THE ARROYO traces 12 year old Jose Arroyo's journey from his temporary home at the Emergency Residence Shelter of the YMWCA in Newark, NJ to the point when his family's welfare assistance was terminated in the spring of 2002 and beyond.  INTO THE ARROYO poignantly reveals the tenacity of a family slipping through the fraying safety net of social services despite the best efforts of many caring individuals.  Above all, the 90 minute film gives Jose a forum to tell his story, and for us to listen.  It is the filmmaker's hope that Jose's journey wakes up to the tragedy at our doorstep and gives us the courage to change the antagonizing conditions faced by the least protected Americans - our children.

Born in Elizabeth, NJ, Anthony Spirito attended both Kean and Rutgers Universities, where he studied philosophy and religion as well as film and writing.  After attending the New York Film Academy in 1997, he decided to express his poetics through the medium of film.  Anthony moved to Newark, NJ in 198 and started his own video production company - ASFilms.  The company focused on documentary services for cultural, corporate, and not-for-profit organizations in and around Newark.

In November 2000, Anthony was awarded a film fellowship from Rutgers Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience (IECME).  This allowed him the freedom to begin work on feature length documentary film, Into the Arroyo.


About the City Children and Their Cultures series:

At the end of the Spring semester 1998 the Institute mounted, in conjunction with the Newark Public Schools, a community oriented lecture and discussion series that explored the transformation of urban youth culture in the United States over the near half-century that followed the end of World War II. Titled City Children and Their Cultures and supported by grants from the Victoria Foundation and the Schumann Fund of New Jersey, the series invited nationally recognized scholars on children to speak to and interact with a cross section of Newark parents, educators, foundation heads, and advocates for children. The objective of the two-part series was to help the major stakeholders in Newark’s youth-oriented sectors contextualize the life of the City’s youngsters, and to foster a sense of intellectual camaraderie among those stakeholders in a public setting. City Children and Their Cultures was held at the Newark Museum and was free of charge to parents, educators and the public.