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Cause Cinema Spotlight
Changemaker Interview & Screening

Changemaker Interview & Screening

Unzipped Documentary Filmmaker Colin Gray

Cause Cinema Club

Filmmaker Colin Gray from Grainey Pictures joins us next week, as we present his award winning documentary in Los Angeles (Hear more about Colin and his important film on the podcast above).

We invite you to join our socially conscious community of like minded moviegoers for a screening of an award-winning social impact documentary film - UNZIPPED An Autopsy of American Inequality. Watch, be inspired, and learn about ways to take action to create change on important issues addressed by the film.

Friday July 28th @ 8pm, Los Angeles

Register for Screening

Film Overview

From award-winning writer/director, Colin K. Gray, executive producer, Lucy Liu, and featuring music tracks from Run The Jewels,

UNZIPPED: An Autopsy of American Inequality is a searing exposé of the growing affordable housing crisis in America.

This intimate feature documentary focuses on one of the country’s most iconic and increasingly income divided zip codes, Venice CA 90291. Once a mecca for artists, outsiders and a thriving Black community, Venice is now the frontline for America’s heated battles over affordable housing and homelessness. With moving, personal profiles of families who struggle to remain in their rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, to bitterly contested community fights over a proposed homeless shelter, UNZIPPED explodes stereotypes and humanizes the lived experiences of people caught in the cross-fire of America’s growing housing divide.

A topical local lens on this alarming humanitarian issue, UNZIPPED is an urgent call to action for more equitable housing solutions for every community in America and around the globe.

A companion affordable housing impact campaign, #RaiseTheRoof, launched alongside the film release. People can visit the UNZIPPED website and impact hub to find simple ways to get involved and support the growing movement to enshrine housing as a human right.

Filmmaker’s Statement- Colin K. Gray

The lack of basic shelter is a global humanitarian crisis. Over 1.6 billion people live in substandard housing. Over one billion people live in slums or settlements. Lack of affordable housing is also a growing American crisis. On any given night, over 550,000 American citizens are homeless. Nationally, there is a shortage of over 7.2 million low-income housing units. 

The reasons are staggeringly complex — rising income inequality, lack of investment in affordable housing, the generational impact of redlining and racist housing practices, a gig economy where wages aren’t keeping up with soaring rents, NIMBY opposition to common sense housing solutions… The list goes on and on. 

Complexity often makes a problem seem insurmountable. But our housing crisis is too important to ignore. It is the number onesocialdeterminant of health in our societies. Meanwhile, rising housing costs are a main driver of every major American societal problem — from income inequality, segregation, and gentrification to racial and generational wealth gaps. 

This is why we embarked on a five-year journey to make UNZIPPED. We wanted to humanize the abstract statistics and divisive rhetoric about the affordable housing crisis and its most glaring symptom, homelessness. We decided to focus on one zip code and two families on the front lines of America’s housing divide. We wanted to document the lived experience of people struggling to survive in the most prosperous country in the world, while also highlighting the heroic front-lines service providers who are developing and implementing solutions. 

Our search took us to our own backyard, iconic Venice, California 90291. The reality we discovered on the streets when we started filming in 2018 was deeply disturbing, particularly against the backdrop of California’s soaring home prices, rising rents, and the displacement that follows in places like Venice. Scenes of wealth and scenes of misery, often on the same neighborhood block, confronted us everywhere we went. The local statistics speak for themselves: one in six renters was behind on rent, and 82 percent were people of color. There were also over 1,100 homeless citizens living on the streets in Venice. With a population of 41,000, this meant one out of 40 people in Venice was homeless. That number increased over 10 percent annually while we filmed. Most shockingly, an average of three homeless citizens die every day on the streets of L.A. 

As we release our film around the globe, it is vital for people to realize this is not just a Venice problem, or a Californian problem. The stories that unfold in UNZIPPED provide a local lens on a growing national issue and are a reflection of the structural inequity that America’s housing and healthcare systems are built upon. Racist systems have pushed far too many to the brink of survival. But this moment of crisis is also a moment of opportunity. Our goal is to catalyze debate and action to provide more equitable housing solutions for every zip code in America and beyond.

On a personal note, I was drawn to this urgent issue for several reasons. I wanted to understand how housing went from a symbol of middle-class aspiration and stability to an engine of inequality. I was born in Michigan, grew up in Canada, and was the beneficiary of a classic middle-class upbringing. I lived in Venice, California, for almost 20 years. I'm also a father to a 6 year old daughter. Yet, I am doubtful that my daughter, born in Venice, will have the same opportunities that were afforded me as a typical middle-class kid. This matters to me. Social mobility, good education, and access to affordable housing matter, whatever the circumstances of your birth. Building more diverse and equitable communities matters, whatever country or zip code you live in. 

And this is why we’ve made UNZIPPED. It’s not just about equal opportunity; it’s about equal access to basic human living conditions. 

This is why we also launched a companion affordable housing campaign, #RaiseTheRoof, alongside the film release.  We created an interactive UNZIPPED Impact Hub with simple ways for people to get involved. Our hope is that UNZIPPED now play a part in the growing movement to enshrine housing as a human right. 

We look forward to you joining us on this journey and lending your voice to one of the most urgent humanitarian issues of our time. 

Thank you. Let’s #RaiseTheRoof together! 

Reviews & Festivals

"I was moved by the stories in UNZIPPED and how the film humanizes the lived experiences of several families struggling with America's own affordable housing crisis. I am hopeful this documentary will help catalyze debate and action on how to better protect the most vulnerable in society." — Lucy Liu, actress

"UNZIPPED is the front line for America's housing divide"— Variety

"Highly Recommended. Offers a gritty exploration of homelessness... Ambitiously tackles multifaceted issues like income inequality, the affordable housing crisis, and systemic racism... Ultimately, UNZIPPED: An Autopsy of American Inequality, serves as a compelling call to action."— Educational Media Reviews Online

"Intimate look at housing-insecure families in Venice... The film humanizes these statistics [of three people dying every day on the streets of LA because of homelessness] through up-close and intimate portrayals of several struggling families"— KCRW

"An important, powerful and enlightening film"— KPCC FilmWeek

"Intimate and heartbreaking film"— American Black Film Festival


Newport Beach Film Festival, Best Documentary Feature, Audience Award


Newport Beach Film Festival, American Black Film Festival, Twin Cities Film Festival, Ojai Film Festival

UNZIPPED website:

UNZIPPED Impact Hub:

Register for Screening

Cause Cinema
Cause Cinema Spotlight
Anchored by the concept of Filmmaking for Change, this podcast will include a combination of weekly social impact film and TV series recommendations (Cause Cinema Spotlight), with occasional showcases and collections, based on timely themes or cultural events.