The Maze

The Maze explores the historical, cultural, and environmental impact surrounding of the MacArthur Maze freeway interchange in Oakland. From Ohlone shellmounds to homeless communities in West Oakland, this film examines how the convergence of four distinct landscapes — a state park, a shopping mall, a neighborhood, and a port – came to be and how they each represent a part of the history of the San Francisco East Bay Area.

Through the use of archival film, historical maps, photos and interviews with members of the communities, viewers are introduced to the rich and sometimes contentious history of the East Bay.

The MacArthur Maze

Director Statement

When I moved to West Oakland in August 2016 from the Netherlands, I immediately became aware of the elevated freeway interchange looming over the neighborhood that was going to be my home for the following two years. And it was clear how one of the freeways, intended or not, acts as a physical border between the cities of Oakland and Emeryville; two towns that today are as different as night and day. One with luxury condos, multi-million dollar apartments and a shopping mall fulfilling all of our needs. The other, West Oakland, with old Victorian homes dating back to the glory days when it was the prime transportation hub of the American West.

But the image of freeways acting as physical barriers, separating people along notions of race and class, were not a foreign sight to me. I too grew up and have lived on the ‘wrong side of the tracks'. And when I lived in South Africa, I saw how townships, racialized spaces created during apartheid, still dictate people’s daily lives and routines.

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But here on the eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay, there was something rather different.

As I grew accustomed to the white noise coming from the freeways in the following months, I started taking photographs of the structure, in an effort to find visual beauty in what at first glance seemed like a structural grey mess. And as I found order in this urban chaos I noticed that the MacArthur Maze brings together, but also cuts off two additional landscapes: a state park, west of the Interstate 80 and the Port of Oakland, west of the I880.

Driven by an urge to tell and show people that this mundane structure, where hundreds of thousands of people pass through each day, is in fact very special, I decided to make a film about how these four areas have become the way they are today.

I wanted to make a documentary that would be an examination of the structure, while at the same time would act as some sort of motion picture postcard sent by a foreign filmmaker about this particular place in the United States.

Because it’s not just the coming together of four different landscapes where the three freeways meet. It’s the coming together of the quintessential urban American landscape anno 2018. Gentrification, crime, homelessness, pollution, and the opioid crisis. The areas around the MacArthur Maze, are faced with a host of challenges. And through the Maze, which simultaneously acts as a guide in this film, you can start seeing how these challenges have come together.

Through this meditation of how urban spaces in California have developed over the past two centuries, I've been able to get to know and connect to my new adoptive neighborhood on a deeper level. And likewise, I hope that the audience will start thinking about how seemingly uninteresting structures and objects in public spaces, can carry more significance if we start considering them as heritage.

The Maze Director - Serginho Roosblad

Director Bio

Serginho Roosblad is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, journalist, and photographer.

His work has been published by KQED, The San Francisco Chronicle, AJ+, Amnesty International, Voice of America, Fusion, Al Jazeera and Radio France International.

Serginho currently lives in Oakland, California, right next to the subject of his documentary film, the MacArthur Maze. He hails from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, with roots in the Caribbean and South America. Prior to living in the U.S., he lived in Uganda, where he lived and worked as a freelance correspondent.

He holds a Masters of Journalism degree from UC Berkeley, where he was the Marlon T. Riggs fellow in documentary filmmaking. He also holds a Masters of Philosophy degree in African studies from the University of Cape Town (South Africa) and a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the Hogeschool Utrecht (the Netherlands).

Featuring

Alternier Baker Cook

Gabriel Cruz

Trewlawny Dios

Corrina Gould

Adrian Praetzellis

 

Crew

Director, Writer, Producer : Serginho Roosblad

Cinematography: Serginho Roosblad, Rafael Roy

Additional Photography: Pablo de la Hoya, Lauren Schwartzman, Sofia Melo

Drone Photography: Myles Fenwick

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