My name is Allen Agostino. I have been a freelance photojournalist and documentary film maker for 8 years now. I have been producing and shooting film documentaries and podcasts independently and professionally for various publications; Aljazeera America, Metroland Media, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, News Week, News Day, National Post, Narratively, The Chronicle UK, The Independent UK, YMCA, Save the Children and ARD Germany. I was also summer intern at the Toronto Star in 2015.

 

“The Hole” is a neighborhood in East New York only twenty minutes from Manhattan. A foreign world hidden in plain sight. The Hole is stationed at thirty feet below sea level. Due to the low elevation, the city is unable to construct a proper underground sewage system, thus flooding, cesspools, and overflowing septic tanks are a daily reality for the families living here. Just as water collects in the hole, so too do people with no other options. Bam has admitted to committing several murders in his past life as a heroin dealer in the East New York. The first occurred when he was 12 - growing up in a house that dealt heroine, he did so defending his mother as he was leaving one morning for school. Now at 42, Bam is trying dig himself and his family out of the hole he dug for them in his past life, one which has manifested as a physical hole, an emotional hole, a mental hole and an economic one.

 

Starting in 2013 I spent 14 months working on this project. For about a year I lived with the family sleeping on the floor of their RV 3-4 days a week while I was also a full-time student at the International Centre of Photography. I pride myself on understanding people. I get access others cannot devote myself completely to my work and will work any or all times of the day to convey an ethical and complete story. In 2014 I completed a short film from this project.

 

In 2015 I created a series of short documentaries on the overly expensive Canadian housing market and the struggles of GTA residents to enter the housing market. The series was called “what having a roof over my head means to me.” I created and produced these films independently.

For the last 4 years, I have been working on a documentary about First Nations Fire Services. I have worked on many reserves in Canada including; Six Nations, Beau soli, Tandynaga, Garden River, Blind River, Sagkeeng and Brokenhead.

 

In December 2018 I worked in Sudan for 8 weeks during the countries revolution. I was documenting the culture of tea ladies in the country. In Khartoum, there are 60000 unionized tea ladies. They saw the revolution on a very acute level experiencing firsthand the effects of the inflation crisis and sugar and bread shortages. These women functioned as a barometer for the country and could be a similar predictor of the country during its reconstruction and transition from dictatorship to democracy.

 

Recently I have independently been working on a series of short documentaries to provide nuance to the conversation around the reallocation of police funding. By documenting marginalized communities of BIPOC youth, the un-housed and women. Showing not only how these communities have been over policed but how these communities stand to benefit from police budgets being diverted to them.

 

Education

2012 Bachelor of Arts U of T

2014 Documentary and Photojournalism, International Center of Photography, New York, USA

 

Photojournalistic Experience

2020- present- contracted to make a series of short documentaries on over policing of marginalized communities in Toronto.

2016-present- Save the Children / freelance photojournalist / videographer

2019- Videographer for ArtStarts Tod Morden Mills (youth professional skills development)

2015- Inside Toronto/ Freelance Journalist for the Mirror and its subsidiaries.

2015- Toronot Star/ summer intern staff photographer.

2015- ARD Germany/ Footage from The Hole appeared on German Public Televison.

2013- Aljazeera America/ Freelance Photojournalist, New York City, USA

2014- News Day/ Freelance Photojournalist New York City, USA

2013- Contributing Photojournalist for Newsday, New York Times, New York City, USA

2015- Open Show Toronto/ Invited to speak about my long-term project The Hole, Toronto Ontario, Canada.

2015- International Center of Photography/ Taught class he created called Digital Reverence, New York City, USA 

2015- Forward Thinking Museum/ Emerging Photojournalist Exhibit New, York, New York USA

Award

2018- Canada council explore and create grant recipient for film in Sudan

2017- Canada council explore and create grant recipient

2017- Ali Mustafa award for peoples journalism

2016- Magenta Foundation Emerging Photographer

2013- Recipient of Wall Street Journal Scholarship 

 

Exhibition / Film Festival

2020- Taos short film festival Questa, New Mexico

2019- contact festival exhibition

2019- Speaker socialist party of Canada.

2018- Ali Mustafa award exhibition

2017- contact festival exhibition

2016- magenta exhibition

2016- exhibition at the invisible dog – New York

2016- Black cat gallery exhibition- Toronto

2015- Taos Short Film Festival/ Finalist, Questa, New Mexico.

2015- Brightside Tavern Short Fest/ Finalist, Jersey City, New Jersey, USA

2015- MIA Film Festival/ Finalist, Manaus Amazonia, Brazil

2014- Access Code Short Film Festival/ Finalist, Bangalore India

2015- Forward Thinking Museum/ Emerging Photojournalist Exhibit New, York, New York USA