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Boyle Heights Doc Explores The Past And Future Of L.A.'s Ellis Island

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Boyle Height's has long been considered the Ellis Island of L.A., and now a new documentary looks at the past, present and future of the diverse, working-class neighborhood.

The documentary East L.A. Interchange examines the evolving story of Boyle Heights, which has been shaped by waves of immigration, as well as freeways and government policies. While the Eastside neighborhood is now predominantly Latino, the area has also been—and still is—home to many other communities, including Jewish, Japanese and African Americans. According to the filmmakers, the documentary looks at "how this quintessential immigrant neighborhood survived racially restrictive housing covenants, Japanese-American Internment, Federal redlining policies, lack of political representation and the building of the largest and busiest freeway interchange system in the nation, the East L.A. Interchange."

The film is narrated by local hero Danny Trejo and includes interviews with Homeboy Industries' Father Greg Boyle, will.i.am of The Black Eyed Peas (who grew up there), as well as other community members, politicians and historians. The documentary will explore the how the residents of Boyle Heights have faced issues like "access to education, gang violence, immigration policies, environmental pollution and gentrification," as well as considering what the future might hold for the ever-evolving neighborhood.

You can watch the trailer for East L.A. Interchange below, and catch the grand premiere of the film this weekend at the Downtown Film Festival.

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