Grady, a lonely café owner, encounters Christian, a new boy in town shunned by the local kids, when he finds him attempting to build a playhouse on the empty lot across the street. An unlikely friendship grows while Grady steps in to help and teach Christian, through the action of building a park in the empty lot. As they encounter challenges along the way, their relationship is put to the test and Grady must come to grips with a change within himself.

Where The Story Came From

THE LOT is based on a true story that transpired in the Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans during the summer of 2007. Mr. Baakir Tyehimba saw an opportunity to teach the children in his neighborhood and help the community. He attempted to take the abandoned lot across the street and turn it into an after school workshop to teach buildings skills and create a park for neighborhood children. While the park and program gained quick success it was ultimately forced to be put on hold due to a number of circumstances including insurance and historical district building codes. As time passed, while waiting for continued approval, what was already built continued to be taken off the lot or torn down. The park and children’s playhouses disappeared and the lot was left empty.

Our story was inspired by Baakir’s efforts to create a positive impact in his community and adapted his story into a narrative short film script. In our story, Baakir is represented by our protagonist, Grady, who operates a struggling café in an under-served neighborhood. The outcast boy he befriends, Christian, was created to represent the community as a whole and his conflict with Grady forms the heart of our story. Grady’s desire to help Christian reflects the desires we all have to reach out to help our neighbors and communities, just as Baakir has a desire to help the kids in his neighborhood. Through this desire to help, Grady must learn about helping others on their terms not on your own. Our film is not a documentary or a shot for shot re-telling of Baakir's story, though we utilize the theme of reaching out and helping those around you and instill that throughout our film. Stepping out to help is always a challenge and often it is the journey and relationships formed along the way that have the most lasting impact.