Decade of Fire

Director: Gretchen Hildebran & Vivian Vázquez Irizarry
USA / 2018 / 76 min

Last screened on Fri, Nov 6

Live Screening followed by a discussion with the directors and producers Neyda Martinez and Julia Steele Allen, moderated by Carol Colmenares.

We all know the official story of the South Bronx blight in the 1970s—“Ladies and gentlemen, the Bronx is burning” and so on—but borough native Vivian Vázquez Irizarry’s vital documentary tells another side of the tale, uncovering government policies of methodical negligence that abandoned Black and Latino neighborhoods, leaving them to wither and their residents to scatter, those left behind conveniently taking the blame for the destruction. A cold case investigation by a filmmaker who lived through it all, naming the true culprits who were trying to kill these neighborhoods and explaining why—and also a touching testimony to those who survived their baptism by fire, indefatigably remaining to build anew.


Carol Colmenares’s career in media spans over 15 years, with positions as a content producer, advisor, and media outreach expert to Hispanics in the U.S., including involvement in producing bilingual productions for PBS. She has contributed to several award-winning productions for Sesame Workshop and since 2007 has served as the Director of Education and Outreach in a US Department of Education grant that provides media accessibility to individuals with sensory disabilities. She is the current owner/producer at Timeline Digital, a New York–based production and post-production company.