By John Lynds
A new documentary film by documentary filmmaker Lucus La Battaglia that some say is five decades in the making will hold a premier screening at Zumix on Sunday, December 11 at 5 p.m. at the Zumix Firehouse, 260 Sumner Street.
La Battaglia’s film titled Destination: East Boston, traces the roots of community activism in Eastie against Logan Airport Expansion in the 1960s right up to the present day fight by environmental and community activists.
The filmmaker released a six minute trailer online and we catch a glimpse of longtime activists like Mary Ellen Welch talking of how unique the struggle between Eastie and Massport has been.
“Logan is unusual in the sense that it is right in a residential community,” says Welch’s voice over pictures of Neptune Road in the 1960s with large Stage-Two Aircraft less than 20 feet over the tops of roofs.
The film will also feature interviews with former Neptune Road residents like East Boston Savings Bank Chairman and CEO Richard Gavegnano who grew up on the street before it was taken by eminent domain to make room for an expansion of Runway 15/33.
“This was a very healthy neighborhood, a thriving blue collar working neighborhood,” Gavegnano says in the trailer while standing on the plot of land were his childhood home once stood. “When I was a kid the soot from plane engines overhead would come down and there would be soot all over the clean clothes hanging on the clothes lines.”
The film also features new activists like Brian Gannon who questions whether he and his family are being exposed to unhealthy levels of toxins and pollutants as well as interviews with Eastie’s immigrant population and their health concerns.
The new and longtime activists as well as new and longtime residents will come together throughout the film to talk of how past experiences dealing with Massport has led to new advocacy and calls for change. The film will also document the state’s Logan Airport Health Study, its findings like increases in childhood asthma, and how it impacts residents on a daily basis.