Making the 2022 seed film

The eighth annual AIA Film Challenge invites you to share stories of architects working with civic leaders to design sustainable and/or equitable communities. Your short documentary film should be between 1.5-3 minutes long and can be produced on any device available to you.

Need inspiration? Watch our seed film about Houston’s Historic Emancipation Park.

Featured in the film are architects working with the Houston mayor and community members to redesign the park to honor the community and its needs. The story of Historic Emancipation Park is a poignant example for any filmmakers and architects interested in telling their own story. Watch now to see our prompt in action.

Emancipation Park

A neighborhood park in Houston’s Third Ward, Historic Emancipation Park was originally founded in 1872 by four formerly enslaved individuals. The park’s founders came together to purchase 10 acres of land in South Houston in anticipation of that year’s Juneteenth. There were no other shared green spaces in which Black communities were allowed to gather, so that 10 acres became Emancipation Park–the oldest public park in the state of Texas.

 “They started the whole notion of equity. We’re following their lead. What they started in 1872, we are continuing in 2022.” —Mayor Sylvester Turner, City of Houston


In 2010, Perkins&Will was hired to renovate the park, which had not seen renovation since 1974. The late Phil Freelon, FAIA, a renowned architect who had just completed work on the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, led the design team. He and his team cared deeply about helping the community to design the park to honor both their history and their future.

In 2018, the park’s redesign was completed. The work had seen three mayoral terms, a team of architects and designers determined to honor culture, and hundreds if not thousands of engaged community members showing up to share in the latest iteration of their historic park.

When we learned the story of Emancipation Park, we had to tell it.