The City of Iowa City's Office of Equity and Human Rights will host a free screening of the documentary, "Owned: A Tale of Two Americas," on Thursday, April 14, 2022. Watch the trailer here.

The screening will begin at 6 p.m. and be followed at 7:30 p.m. by a Q&A with the film's director, Giorgio Angelini.

About the film

"Owned" is an incisive look into the dark history behind the US housing economy. Tracking its overtly racist beginnings to its unbridled commoditization, the documentary exposes a foundational story few Americans understand as their own.

In 2008, the US housing market became the epicenter of an unprecedented global economic collapse. In the years since, protests in cities like Baltimore have highlighted the stark racial disparities that define many American cities. The crash of suburbia and urban unrest are not unrelated — they are two sides of the same coin; two divergent paths set in motion by the United States’ post-war housing policy.

The prevailing narrative is that the migration from American cities that began in the 1950s - often referred to as “white flight” - was caused by the degradation of city centers and the growth of suburbia. But this was neither a matter of preference, nor a natural self-segregation.

After World War II, the US government sought to provide housing for returning veterans and their families, while enabling them to build wealth through homeownership. Postwar policies spurred a decades-long construction boom and enabled millions of Americans to buy homes — and they benefited white people exclusively. So racial segregation determined how communities grew. Government policies directly subsidized white America while denying opportunities to black people and other minorities.

Through the stories of a retired New York City cop, an eccentric Orange County realtor, and an aspiring real estate developer in Baltimore, "Owned" explores the promise of postwar housing policies, the systematic oppression in America’s “Chocolate Cities,” and the communities they have created. The film suggests that ultimately, these communities have more in common than they might suspect.

"Owned," Angelini's first feature film, is an extension of his multi-faceted career in the creative arts. 

How to participate

Those interested in the screening and Q&A may sign up here. Participants will receive an email from the Office of Equity and Human Rights with the link closer to the date of the program.

Date of publication

Tuesday, March 22, 2022