Distributor:  Icarus Films
Length:  55 minutes
Date:  1995
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Grade level: 10-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
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No Loans Today

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Fringe banking in redlined, post-riot South Central Los Angeles.

No Loans Today

Centering on the ABC Loan Co., a twenty-five year old pawnshop/checkcashing outlet, NO LOANS TODAY documents daily life in the African-American community of South Central Los Angeles. The film explores the lives of several people who've either chosen or been forced to remain in this community.

With interviews and cinema-verité scenes of day-to-day living, NO LOANS TODAY examines the relationship between pawnshops and checkcashing outlets - also known as 'fringe banks' - to other economic problems that this community endures, such as crime and unemployment.

The recent proliferation of fringe banks completes a cycle of economic marginalization that began when industries left the area and banks began to redline South Central against business loans. Portraying the pawnshop as a metaphor for survival, the film explores economic and psychological marginalization, and reveals the unseen resiliency of the people of this community.

'Right on target and quite moving... From the amazingly forthright interviews, one gets in a very brief span a feel for many of the complex issues associated with inner-city, black poverty.'-Professor John P. Caskey, Author, 'Fringe Banking: Check Cashing Outlets, Pawnshops, and the Poor'

'Portraying the pawnshop as a symbol for survival [the film] explores both economic and psychological marginalization - and possibly reveals more about the recent riots than all the newscast footage of that conflagaration. It possesses a poignancy and a power that last long after its viewing.'-Sundance Film Festival

'A gentle polemic... Interviews with people in the community sketch out a world in which options are as limited as credit.' -Bay Guardian

'Fascinating! Skyler never editorializes; there's no narration, just a march of faces explaining, in oblique terms, the effects of poverty and racial discrimination on their daily existence. Amazingly, the bleakness of the burnt-out vacant lots is tempered by determination and defiant self-esteem. Should be required viewing for any public office holder.'-Billboard

'This mesmerizing look at a slice of life in a hostile urban environment has much to offer for both general audiences and classroom viewers.'-Booklist


** Editor's Choice, Booklist (1996)
** 1995 Sundance Film Festival
** 1995 AFI Los Angeles Film Festival
** 1995 San Francisco Film Festival
** 1995 Florida Film Festival


Main credits

Skyler, Lisanne (film director)
Skyler, Lisanne (film producer)
Skyler, Lisanne (editor of moving image work)
Redpath, Mark (editor of moving image work)
Salsano, Federico (director of photography)

Other credits

Producer/director, Lisanne Skyler; editors, Mark Redpath, Lisanne Skyler; director of photography, Federico Salsano.

Distributor credits

A Film by Lisanne Skyler

Docuseek2 subjects

African-American Studies
American Studies
American Studies
Urban Studies
American (U.S.) Studies

Distributor subjects

American Studies
Economic Sociology
North America
Urban Planning and Design
Urban Studies


fringe; banking; pawn; shop; shops; pawnshop; pawnshops; pawn broker; South; Central; LA; Los; Angeles; Lisanne; Skyler; documentary; film; video; urban; poor; nontraditional; banking; systems; ; "No Loans Today"; Icarus Films

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