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Courtesy of Jon Schwartz

Law Building, Lower Level
1001 Bissonnet
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Directed by Jon Schwartz



89 minutes



Seymour Schwartz: Home Movie

Join a post-film discussion with Newton Schwartz Sr. and director/producer Jon Schwartz.

A reception in the museum galleries follows.

A Houston story with universal appeal, this film essay is a character study of the filmmaker’s father, as well as a chronicle of a Houston Jewish family spanning the 20th century. Interviews with Seymour Schwartz (1919–2008)—passionate, outspoken, and possessing an exceptional memory—frame a family history richly illustrated by photographs, letters, and historical materials. Schwartz’s early life, service in World War II, and position at the family’s downtown tailor shop are detailed in three voices: his own, his older brother Leo’s and—in a hilarious sequence that will resonate for anyone who has siblings—his young brother Newton’s. The story is rounded out by poignant recollections of Seymour’s marriage and unlikely role as a community activist late in his life (including an article featuring him on the cover of the Houston Press). Twenty-five years after his first film—the acclaimed documentary This Is Our Home: It Is Not for Sale, about Houston’s Riverside neighborhood—Jon Schwartz delivers a riveting family portrait.

Houston native Jon Schwartz graduated from Lamar High School, and he studied filmmaking at Northwestern University and the University of Texas at Austin. He produced traffic safety films for the State of California from 1978 to 1984.

"This is Our Home, It Is Not For Sale" is the 60-year history of an archetypal American neighborhood, Riverside in Houston, which experienced the classic syndrome of integration, real estate blockbusting, white flight, and re-gentrification common to virtually every American city. The film was released in 1987 and screened at a dozen international film festivals including Telluride, San Francisco and Chicago. It was broadcast on numerous public television stations including Houston's Channel 8 and WNET in New York. The film has been widely praised for its insights into the history of Houston’s Riverside neighborhood, as detailed through more than 100 interviews, as well as for its contributions to the field of 20th century urban studies. It was released on DVD in 2007, inspiring renewed interest.