[image-1]Bin – [Orig: Gullah, for “been”], to occupy a position, exist, live
Yah – [Orig: Gullah for “here”], in this spot, locality
Local film organization ChasDOC’s first feature-length documentary — Bin Yah: There’s No Place Like Home — makes its television premieres tonight at 10 p.m. on ETV as part of SCETV’s “Southern Lens” series. The recently-released , hour-long documentary film by director Justin Nathanson (of The Cut Company) tells the story of the Gullah-Geechee communities and historic African-American neighborhoods of East Cooper.
[image-2]Nathanson arrived in Charleston from New York in 2006 to work as the lead editor on the ill-fated TV show Palmetto Pointe. He stayed in town and became involved in numerous video, TV, and film productions and organizations — including the newly-established Charleston Documentary Film Festival.
[image-3]Piccolo Spoleto featured Bin Yah in two screenings earlier this month at the Mother Emanuel AME Church at 110 Calhoun Street. A low budget but professionally assembled project, the film was produced by Nancy Cregg (of the Coastal Conservation League) and Cara White (who also co-wrote),[image-4] and narrated by Ron Daise. It spends time with community leaders from the Scanlonville/Remley’s Point area (just off of Mathis Ferry Road) and basket weavers and longtime residents from the Four Mile, Six Mile, Hamlin/Seven Mile (Reverend Victoria Washington, Hamlin/Seven Mile Community is pictured at right), Phillips, and Snowden communities located along Highway 17 and Rifle Range Road. Many of these communities were established in the late 1800s by freed slaves and have been home to generations of their families. As the filmmakers put it, the film documents the escalating “struggle between the real ‘bin yahs’ and ‘come yahs.’”
Much of Bin Yah touches on Scanlonville — one of the first African-American communities to be formed in Charleston after the Civil War. Scanlonville resident Ed Lee consulted the filmmakers as they gathered historical information on the houses, hotels, speakeasies, nightclubs, beach pavilions, boardwalks, and shopping districts of these communities through the last few decades. The film covers significant developments pertaining to the Scanlonville historic cemetery as well — a very old graveyard that was the subject of a recent heated legal battle between the community and developers.