In My Piece of the City, Toronto director Moze Mossanen embraces the lofty task of telling the story of neighbourhood Regent Park through the production of a community musical staged by residents.
Alongside clips from rehearsals and the final performance, it's the film's collection of interview footage that builds the film's central theme: How to tell the story of a neighbourhood that's changing for a new era.
The majority of the film's emotional heavy lifting comes from its subjects: young artists of colour who deliver thoughtful, critical perspectives at every opportunity, and contribute stirring, original compositions. However, what's missing in Mossanen's work is the necessary deep dive into the relationship between himself and the DIY-driven creativity of the young artists he's documenting.
Still, despite the film's lucrative funders (the real estate giant Daniels Foundation bankrolled both the doc and the musical), Mossanen's perspective remains open, offering a healthy critique of Regent Park's revitalization, and managing to retain a palpable sense of optimism amid a pragmatic measured eye.
My Piece of the City opens Feb. 23 in Toronto.