Making a Difference
By Sarah Amtower | From Preservation | July/August 2008
Last winter, Daniel Heitzman, a sophomore at California's Academy of Art University, learned that his school intended to purchase part of the San Francisco Flower Mart and evict nearly 30 tenants. The mart, one of only five wholesale and retail flower markets in the country, houses more than 50 shops and attracts hundreds of tourists and patrons a week. Heitzman decided to film a documentary about the vendors who've worked at the market for so long. "Many of them run family businesses that have been there for generations," he says. "One woman put two of her kids through college by selling handmade leis." Heitzman spent his winter break interviewing vendors and editing the documentary, which he then posted on YouTube.
Subsequently, under pressure from the community, the Academy of Art abandoned plans to replace vendor stalls with a sculpture studio. As for Heitzman, he is nurturing his interest in preservation and filmmaking by working on an expanded documentary about the Flower Mart, to be screened at a convention held by the California Preservation Foundation.
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