Comic Web Series Focuses On Gentrification In Oakland

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — Oakland is the focus of a new web series, that looks at life and gentrification in the Bay Area city.

The director says Oakland is “an edgy and very diverse but kind of bipolar city.”

The series’ premiere is at Oakland’s Grand Lake Theater Thursday night. The seven-part series called, The North Pole, was filmed in North Oakland.

The series is a comic look at the crime, cost of living and the changing community.

Producer Josh Healey said, “Comedy is a way to open the door to hard conversations.”

Healey says the comedy draws parallels between urban displacement in Oakland and ecological disruption in the arctic.

Climate change and evictions are serious issues and are nothing to laugh about.

Yet, those are the central themes in the series.

The story follows three Oakland natives, who are coping with a changing neighborhood. And struggling to save their own home due to rising rents.

Associate producer Dania Cabello said, “This area of North Oakland was referred to as the North Pole.”

“And for folks who grew up here, they call themselves polar bears,” Healey said. “If you’re from Oakland or from the Bay Area, it feels like you’re an endangered species in your own homeland.”

The series takes from the personal stories of associate producer, Dania Cabello, who has seen her neighborhood change. And a good portion was filmed out of her home.

Cabello said, “Gentrification is violence, when you’re stripped of your home, of your community, and you’re stripped of your physical belongings, that’s a very violent experience that manifests mentally and emotionally.”

The producers believe by humanizing the people dealing with gentrification, it’ll push more people to solve the problem.

Healey said, “Reach people, not just their heart and mind, but heart, mind and funny bone, and if we can get that combination, hopefully, we’ve done a little work to push that conversation forward.”

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