This a look at the relationship of the NYC borough of The Bronx to books, bookstores, libraries and literacy. It’s a look how having access to books and being taught to read can change a community for the better. It’s a love affair to reading and books and how those things can make a better life for those who read. It is also a warning about cutting off people’s access to them.
As a life long reader and a former Barnes and Noble employee who used his employment to feed his literary addiction, I really liked 1.5 MILLION a great deal. This is a vital and important look at the need for literacy in our society. The film charts how one of the densest counties in New York State went from having only three book stores to having many more. It charts how the stores and the libraries have helped improved the neighborhoods they served and how threats to close them resulted in community battles.
What I love about this film is that this is it's not big and flashy. This isn’t a film that has been edited to within an inch of it’s life. Instead it’s film in love with the Bronx and the people who live there. Director Gregory Hernandez doesn’t pick people just to recite facts but instead picks people who speak with passion. They speak with passion for their borough, for reading and for the need to make sure people can read and do read. We come to understand how being literate changed lives. Hernandez fills the film with personal stories that connect to and move us because within the words spoken we are hearing our neighbors and we come to see why literacy is important. In having such a great collection of people telling their stories the film transcends being just about the Bronx and instead is about anywhere where literacy is in danger.
While there are a bump or two along the way, it really doesn’t matter. This is a film that we connect to an moves us on a very real very human level.
Look for 1.5 MILLION at festivals in the fall and spring