Following a community of politically motivated New York squatters

Survival Without Rent is a short archival documentary about community members who rehabilitated abandoned city-owned properties in the 1980s and formed a vibrant community of artists and activists.

Told with news clips, home videos, and oral histories

Survival Without Rent traces the history of the squatters' movement from the 1970s, when a financial crisis in New York triggered a wave of building abandonment, to the mid-1990s, when the Giuliani Administration launched an attack on lower Manhattan's squats.

Calling attention to a forgotten local history

The film also explores broader topics of government disinvestment, anticapitalist critique, extralegal activism, and the intersection of community arts and urban resistance movements.