A small city on the outskirts of Lake Okeechobee and nestled in Palm Beach County, Florida, Pahokee boasts a population of 6,617 according to the last census recorded in 2007 and a family’s yearly income barely averages $30,000 a year.
As small as Pahokee is, its traditions and cultural propensities, made up by its highly diverse population, will be viewed by many at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival with the short documentary The Send-Off, which records the events of a large block party as a group of high school students in Pahokee celebrate their high school prom, as they reveal their aspirations and dreams to break free o small town life and making a life outside their rural hometown.
Directed by Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan, The Send-Off offers a glimpse into the not-so-glamorous life outside the reputed luxury of Palm Beach, and how residents of one small town struggle to make end meet while holding on to their hopes of a better life. The recession of 2008 hit Pahokee hard, and like many other small towns across America, it has yet to fully recover. As testament to this, a Kickstarter campaign was launched this past December in order to raise funds for the students in the film so they could travel to Park City in order to attend the screening at Sundance.
Pahokee may not be the place tourists and winter snowbirds choose to visit when they come to Florida. But it’s a town with rich history and a cultural diversity that makes it unique within the periphery of Palm Beach County.
CHECK OUT THE TRAILER FOR “THE SEND-OFF” HERE: