I had the pleasure of seeing one of the best documentaries of SXSW in Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio. The film is one that focus’ on social consciousness, creativity, education and love for your fellow man. The film focus’ on a project created by an architecture professor named Samuel Mockbee, affectionately referred to as Sambo. Mockbee saw that the educational system was churning out students that had no real world practice in architecture, and no idea as to how to create structures that serve both an artistic and practical purpose. So he created the Rural Studio. The Rural Studio planted its roots in a poverty stricken area of Alabama, and did its best to give something to both the students and the citizens.
It is easy to watch a documentary like this one and want to run right out and start making a difference. The film is a wake up call that inspires the soul, feeds the mind with creativity and gives us hope for further generations. I love the way that this program really sets out to improve lives rather than just create structures. I think that this type of attitude could easily carry into other industries as well. For instance it would be really nice to see English majors possibly teaching or tutoring at middle schools, or culinary students cooking at a food shelter. When giving back and making a difference, it isn’t always about producing perfection, sometimes it is just about providing something genuine and nourishing for the mind and body.
I highly recommended Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio. The film will inspire you, show you beauty and how one man’s dream could be the answer to one of the world’s most growing problem. Check out my interview below with producer Jack Sanders (right), director Sam Wainwright Douglas (middle) and producer Sarah Ann Mockbee (left).