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Modern in our Midst

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Modern in our Midst
Modern in our Midst

About the film



Many years ago I began to notice interesting homes and buildings around town that seemed out of place and quite different than those surrounding them.  I decided to do a little research and found Keith York’s website.  Here I saw archival photos of some of these buildings as they were when they were new.  I already knew a little bit about some of the more famous Mid-Century Modern Homes and Buildings in LA, Palm Springs, and a handful here, but his site made me realize that in San Diego we are surrounded by some very important architecture yet most people are unaware.  Some of these buildings have already been lost.  It is my hope that by showing the results of the thoughtful and deliberate work that has gone into restoring some of these beautiful buildings, that more San Diegans will be inspired to learn more about this subject.  Who knows, maybe it will even help to get a few more of these buildings saved and restored while simultaneously putting San Diego on the map of the top cities to visit for Mid-Century Modern Architecture.



Modern In Our Midst is a documentary film that advocates for and tells the story of Mid-Century Modern Architecture in post-war San Diego, and how its historical importance is often overlooked.  With a nostalgic and hopeful tone, we intend to engage the audience as we explore the aesthetics and values of the time, exemplifying a period when the emphasis was on style and function, not square footage.  Our aim is to inform and delight audiences with intimate access to these homes and buildings as well as the men and women who designed them.  Just last year, an historically important office building from that era was demolished to make way for storage units.  It is for this reason and the countless other architectural treasures that have been tragically lost that our ultimate goal is to raise awareness of the effort to save this important part of San Diego’s heritage, and hopefully prevent any more of these works of art from being lost forever.


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the project

Cast and Crew

andrei booriakin



Andrei Booriakin is a documentary filmmaker in San Diego.  He attended the University of Southern California and Platt College.  After nearly two decades as the Senior Art Director for numerous Sony Playstation video game franchises, he formed AB Squared Creative Group with his colleague Andrew Bracken.  In addition to doing creative work for local businesses, he spends his free time making independent films. His films have been selected for the San Diego Latino Film Festival, America's Finest Film Fest, San Diego Film Week, and he also won a 2017 San Diego Film Award.  His current project "Modern in our Midst" is entirely self-funded.


andrew bracken



Andrew Bracken is an award-winning digital media artist and producer with over 15 years experience creating media content. Before working in the video game industry, Andrew worked as a sound editor/sound designer for television and film, working with directors such as Sidney Lumet and Errol Morris. He has been recording audio in the field and working in audio post-production for over 15 years on films, television shows, music, and video games.  His video game credits include MLB The Show, ModNation Racers, LittleBigPlanet Karting, Pinball Heroes, and Kill Strain.  He was chosen as a fellow of the San Diego Foundation’s Creative Catalyst Fellowship for 2013-14 and was selected to Berlinale Talent Campus at the Berlinale Film Festival.


steve edmund

camera operator


Steve Edmund has captured the energy and spirit of live shows from bands and other various performers for almost a decade. His photo shoots and concert photos have appeared in various publications including band tour promotions and the cover of the San Diego Reader. His passion for capturing imagery that evokes emotion is what drives his love for photography and cinematography.

chad kelco

production photographer


Chad Kelco is an American photographer whose interests and talents span multiple art disciplines. He is a classically trained Graphic Designer but has found success working as an Illustrator, Designer, Game Developer and Tattooer. The Modern in our Midst project has given Chad the opportunity to study first-hand the minimalist beauty and functional aesthetic of mid-century architecture, along with the opportunity to meet other individuals who cherish this profound era in design. “What is apparent about the structures we are documenting is the freedom from form and tradition. Due largely to the design philosophies of the time, as well as the advancement of new building materials, the traditional housing unit was transformed to functioning art. It is my attempt to capture this expression of form that exists regardless of the constraints in which the languid sprawl of urban development has confined it.”


keith york

subject matter adviser


A native San Diegan, for two decades Keith York has published regularly on the region’s post-World War II modernist architecture, art, design and craft. Through his site,, he has become synonymous with the topic. Mr. York has received accolades from San Diego City officials, preservationists, architects, journalists, students and scholars alike for his restoration of Craig Ellwood’s only design in the County – the Bobertz House (1953-55). While with KPBS, Mr. York produced documentaries and feature reports on architects Irving Gill, Richard Requa and artist-craftsman James Hubbell as well as surveys of architecture in Balboa Park and throughout the San Diego-Tijuana region. His exhaustive documentation of San Diego’s modernist heritage online has extended to producing tours, lectures and forums on the topic. His most recent venture, Modern San Diego Real Estate, informs real estate buyers, sellers and agents alike of San Diego’s rich architectural inventory. Mr. York has recently served as a board member of the San Diego Architectural Foundation, Chair of the San Diego Museum of Art’s ‘The Gallery’, and Chair of the La Jolla Historical Society’s Modern La Jolla Committee. His most recent curatorial work, an exhibition for the La Jolla Historical Society The Taliesin Architects of San Diego: The Legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright, brought the largest audience in history to the downtown La Jolla gallery. Mr. York is currently writing a biography of Wright apprentice, San Diego architect Sim Bruce Richards (1908-1983) titled The Sensuous Environment, authoring two chapters on Craig Ellwood’s furniture designs for a forthcoming Rizzoli book, Craig Ellwood: Self Made Modern, and preparing an exhibition on the work of architectural photographer Julius Shulman in San Diego.


carmen pauli

preservation architect


Carmen Pauli is an architect who has been specializing in the field of historic preservation for 20 years. As a principal and part owner of the San Diego based architecture firm, Heritage Architecture & Planning, Carmen has been involved in numerous preservation projects on many of San Diego’s most recognized historical resources. Recent projects include the award-wining rehabilitation of the 130-room Hotel Sandford for the San Diego Housing Commission and the exterior restoration of SDG&E’s Station F on El Cajon Boulevard. Though enthusiastic about all architectural styles, Carmen has a special appreciation for San Diego’s unique inventory of Modern architecture.  Restoration and rehabilitation projects include projects designed by noted mid-century architects Lloyd Ruocco, Homer Delawie, Dale Naegle, Bill Krisel, John Mock, and Richard Neutra.


todd pitman

landscape architect


Todd Pitman ASLA is a landscape architect and planner who has been active in the field of historic preservation for the past 20 years. Todd has served as a design and restoration consultant on historically significant properties throughout Southern California, at times teaming with his wife, architect Carmen Pauli on restoration and rehabilitation projects. In addition to this this work Todd has been recognized for his extensive research on mid-century modern landscape design and architecture and specifically on the career of early San Diego modernist architect Lloyd Ruocco.  He has been a featured speaker and writer for Save Our Heritage Organization, the San Diego Architectural Foundation, the San Diego History Center and many others.  In 2008 his research efforts led to his receipt of the Lloyd Ruocco Award presented by Citizens Coordinate for Century 3.  In 2016 he was appointed to the City of San Diego Historical Resources Board and also serves as Chair of that Board’s Design Assistance Subcommittee.


Support the film


The filmmakers and advisers of this film have all volunteered their time and equipment to preserve and highlight this important part of San Diego's post-war modernist heritage.  There are other expenses involved in filmmaking such as licensing the rights to images and music.  Your support goes a long way in helping make this documentary that much better and hopefully it will inspire others to restore and preserve these treasures.  Whether it's licensing rights managed media, or simply buying the crew a round after a long day's shoot, your support is greatly appreciated.


In addition to financial support, there are other ways of supporting this project.  Subscribe to our newsletter for notifications of screenings and other events that help promote this important project.






Modern in our Midst