Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club

Photograph from Fletcher Street of rider on horse, talking with a group on a stoop. Photograph from Fletcher Street horses and riders in a fountain. Photograph from Fletcher Street of a small child sitting on a horse.  She is being supported by a man while another man stands next to the horse's head. Photograph from Fletcher Street of a boy brushing a horse's tail.

Fletcher Street:
a feature length documentary - in production

Martha Camarillo, a professional photographer, came to know the men, boys and horses of Fletcher Street in 2005 and captured their images in her critically acclaimed book, published by Powerhouse. Martha grew close to the Fletcher Street family and community and became determined to tell their unique American story. So, she picked up a camera of a different kind and began filming.

Among the documentary's visual and emotional juxtapositions, are common themes that run through most stories of family, and those specific to Fletcher Street. In the background looms gentrification. As outside economic interests increase their influence, old neighborhoods give way to bulldozers and new money. Unless Fletcher Street can stem the tide, there is a good chance that this hidden segment of American culture will slip away for good.

Fletcher Street fascinates, frustrates and inspires. Rich personal stories interwoven with the community's struggle to retain its identity and future will challenge perceptions and shed light onto a neighborhood worth saving.

Interested in the Fletcher Street movie?
Check out the latest news and progress on the documentary, as well as how you can be involved!

Synopsis

In the heart of downtown Philadelphia, among abandoned buildings and impoverished neighborhoods where drugs and unemployment pervade, is a place called Fletcher Street. A block that upon first glance looks just like all the others, that is, until you see the horses and hear their hoof beats.

Horses? In the middle of the ghetto? Surprisingly, yes. They have been here for years, when the African American community thrived in Philadelphia, before drugs and unemployment steadily encompassed healthy neighborhoods and they disintegrated into urban war zones.

Despite it all, the horses have stayed, and they have because of the small, passionate, dedicated group of men determined to reclaim their neighborhood and their children. In this fight, they use the one thing that they know, love and trust, the horses.

Conventionally perceived as symbols of social status and privilege, horses have long been an integral part to the Fletcher Street community. The horses of Fletcher Street, with names like; Red Pony, Champ, Power, White Chick, One Eye and Easy Like Sunday Morning, provide the unique window into Fletcher street's brotherhood. And they, like their owners, have their own cruel experiences, many of them saved from low-end auctions and slaughterhouses. They are diamonds in the rough, young men and horses, and small everyday accomplishments build strong bonds among steeds and riders. The relationships between man and animal fuel an immense source of pride, accomplishment and sense of worth and reveal astounding, arresting and contradictory testaments to pre-conceived notions and theories that encircle the young black male in America.

Among the visual and emotional juxtapositions, are common themes that run through most stories of family; love mixed with discipline, laughter tinged with disappointment, pride in one's own, and those that are specific to places like Fletcher Street; kids without homes, absent father's and drug addicted mothers, 12 year olds with wrap sheets, grown men who have lost too much to the streets, isolation, and the absence of belief- in themselves, their city, their country.

In the background of Fletcher Street, looms gentrification. As outside economic interests increase their influence, old neighborhoods give way to bulldozers and new money. Unless Fletcher Street can stem the tide, there is a good chance that this hidden segment of American culture will slip away for good.

Fletcher Street fascinates, frustrates and inspires. Rich personal stories interwoven with the community's struggle to retain its identity and future will challenge perceptions and shed light onto a neighborhood worth saving.