A still from Residue.


D.C. remains one of the “most rapidly gentrified cities” in the country, so Residue couldn’t be more timely. Merawi Gerima, son of legendary filmmaker and Sankofa Video, Books & Cafe co-founder Haile Gerima, makes his directorial debut with a semi-autobiographical take on a disappearing D.C.: When the film’s protagonist, Jay (Obinna Nwachukwu), returns home to the District after attending school at USC, he finds that the neighborhood he knew has quickly gentrified. The film goes on to explore both the racial hostilities and sense of loss that arise from gentrification. “I spent a whole year away and I came back to D.C. with all these emotions kind of swirling,” Gerima told Slamdance of his own time away at USC. “Then I saw that the city that I had not really appreciated, you appreciate it more when it’s leaving you.” The film took a year to write, but it was released in the wake of an uprising—an echo of his father’s renowned film Bush Mama, which partially arose as a response to the Watts Rebellion over a decade prior. The film is now streaming on Netflix. Free with subscription.