When Our Neighborhood Burned

Los Angeles, California | Film Feature

Documentary, Drama

Haley Diaz

1 Campaigns | California, United States

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This campaign raised $2,465 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

39 supporters | followers

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Growing up, my immediate family told me their traumatic experiences as they bore witness to one of the largest civil unrests in U.S. history: The LA Riots of '92. As our country feels the need to unequivocally repeat its past, I feel compelled to share my family's story with the world.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

As an experimental filmmaker, I try to incorporate as much media as possible to tell a story that I resonate with emotionally. Whether it's a story about a lonely & lost shadow, or a commentary piece about the current pandemic. My work drives me to bring change of heart & mind too its viewers.

The Story


At the beginning of 2020, I dedicated months to creating a script that could've potentially work as my senior thesis film. When COVID-19 hit the U.S. hard, any plans I had were now cancelled. I knew that no matter how much time I put into that script, I wouldn't be able to shoot it with our given circumstances. So I decided to go with a personal yet fessible film idea I've saved in my "Film Ideas Folder" for over two years.

The Story

My mom's immediate side of the family has lived on one block in South Central Los Angeles since 1960. South Central throughout the decades has been known to be an area of Los Angeles where a huge percentage of families live below the poverty line. During the crack epidemic and the Reagan Administration, parts of L.A. were constantly targetted by police for being a breeding ground for crime. But no matter the rep that it had, I created some of my fondest memories on that very street. Although I am a single child, my mom made sure that I spent as much time with our immediate family as possible so that I wouldn't have to grow up alone.

(Photo of myself and my mom, Holly)

When I got a little older, my mom told me about her own memories living as a second generation immigrant and latch-key kid.

(Holly and Grandpa David, South Central, L.A. c. 1970)

(Holly Priebe and Priebe Sibilings, Los Angeles, 1995)

One story from my mom that captivated me was the story of the Los Angeles Riots of 1992. It was on my family's block when the rioting incited. It was on their block where neighbors conspired and where their fits of anger poured out into the main streets. It was in their neighborhood where fires were first set ablaze. 

(L.A. Riots on the intersection of Florence & Normandie, South Central, L.A., Photo by Steve Grayson)

My mom used to tell me stories about the riots, I'd like to think as a way to educate me. She told me how they effected my family and the neighborhood for years to come. She would also tell me stories of my grandmother who babysat the imfamous Damian “Football” Williams. He was the man sentenced to prison along with three others (The L.A. Four) for the assault of Reginald Denny during the riots. That same Damian Williams grew up with my family, played games with my uncles and aunts, and even walked my grandmother to church the day after the riots.

(Damian Williams in court on misdimeanor charges, c. 1993) 

Why Now?

My family has been deeply rooted in the South L.A. community for over 50 years. I want to tell their story in relations to the riots, because it was such a pivotal moment for their lives and the country. Their experiences with the '92 riots have inspired me to better educate myself as both a filmmaker and as a humanitarian. With the recent uprisings as the result of police brutality and systemic racism, I've taken notice that this misconduct not only affects its victims, but it directly effects the victims' families, their communities, and our country. A family friend once said to me, "every time something like this happens, it always seems to be the police at the root of it." In this film I'd like to refer to our past to see how we could've prevented our present mistakes.

(BLM Protesters, 2020)

Why me?

With COVID in our midst, times are tough. I want to make sure we have the necessary means of production to create a moving film while also taking precautions. To protect my family and the other documentary subjects, we're planning to take some preemptive measures, which include:

  • limiting our crew down to three members, including myself
  • taking extra time to get advanced personal testing before and after our shoot
  • placing the doc interviews outside while maintaining a social distance of six feet
  • buying necessary PPE
  • and by setting up video call interviews for long distant subjects, and in case COVID cases increase

As the Director of this film, I am the best person to tell this story because of my drive and undeniable spirit. Even though this topic is heavy, personal, and culturally significant, I, too, will be learning more about this subject during this film process. Since I wasn't alive at the time of the riots, I feel that it is essential to venture on this journey for self-relfection and empathy. My family inspires me to become a better person and a better artist every day. So when I create a piece of work as personal as this one, my main goal is to make them proud for pursuing my dreams.

(Photo of myself, Haley Diaz, photographed by Christian Chavez)


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Costs $150

Our setting of the story is so essential for telling the story as well as its home owner!

Camera & Misc. Equipment

Costs $1,335

For the rental and insurance of camera/lighting/miscellaneous equipment.

Meals & Snacks

Costs $405

To feed both the crew and our documentary subjects.


Costs $90

For COVID Safety.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team

Director/Writer/Producer - Haley Diaz

As a current Senior at Syracuse University, I am studying Film and Public Communicatiuons. As a Los Angeles native, I have been previously employed at 44 Blue productions, NBCUniversal Entertainment, Manalive Media Group, LLC, A.U.M Productions, and SunnyBoy Entertainment. She has worked on and off numerous student and professional sets as a P.A., Talent Assistant, Producer, Camera Operator, Co-Director, Grip, and Sound Mixer. Fun fact: I love to paint and listen to true crime podcasts in my free time.

Director of Photography - Ethan Jacobson

Ethan is an editor and cinematographer born and raised in the San Fernando Valley; He enjoys bending the aesthetic of music videos, narrative films, and abstract video art into my own work. Ethan studied Film Production, and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Syracuse University, New York. He has worked on independent narratives and music video sets since 2015. Fun fact: Ethan began shooting films and editing them because he used to make mini skate videos for my friends when at the age of 12.

I brought Ethan Jacobson onto my team since we have a great history of working together on set. Ethan is excellent to work with and knows his way around a DSLR camera and can make and image go from drab to fab like magic.

Technical Producer/Executive Producer - Erick Diaz

Erick has been the backbone for this film from the very beginning. He will help coordinate/manage film equipment rentals, and assist in the production set-up. With his thirty plus years of experience in the entertainment industry, his knowledge of production managment is essential to make this film come to life. Fun fact: Erick was born in San Jose, Costa Rica and is a devoted fan of The Beatles.


Key Grip/BTS Photographer - Christian Chavez

Christian Chavez is a photography major at LACC. This LA native’s neurotic nature allows for creative endeavors to flourish, and drives him to explore his perspective in the world. Christian is inspired by surrealist art, and documentary-esque photography. His mission is to share his perception of the world, and be understood.

Creative Director - Anna Harrington

Anna Harrington is a Los Angeles, California based Creative Designer whose passion is helping others translate their ideas into tangible forms of art and design. Anna started working as a Freelance Designer in 2017 while attending Woodbury University where she received her Bachelor’s in Business Management and Film Minor. Anna has collaborated with a broad range of clients from Spotify artists and filmmakers to production studios and small businesses. While Anna will jump at any opportunity to create art, she specializes in Digital Content Creation and Campaign Design. You can browse her work at www.artbyannaharrington.fun

Sound Designer - Jeremy Jung

Jeremy Jung is a Korean-American filmmaker, music producer, composer, and sound designer based out of Torrance, CA. His B.F.A. Thesis Film, Surrendering Nina, applies his knowledge and passion for sound design and narrative storytelling to illustrate a small glimpse of the underground rave culture in modern society. Pursuing the ideal middle ground between sound and image, Jeremy takes a profound amount of influence from beyond the boundaries of conventional modern internet culture, previously addressing stigmas of Electronic Dance Music in his short documentary, an Official Selection at the 2019 London Lift-Off Festival, Generation EDM. Jeremy has two music projects: Jboi, which focuses on hip-hop, R&B, pop, and dance, and Mint June, which focuses on various electronic formats. 

Current Team