1.5 Million explores the political and economic forces that have brought about this literacy crisis in The Bronx, specifically, District 7 which is located in the South Bronx. With a lack of school libraries, classroom libraries, books within the community, bookstores, robust marketing by the NYPL in The Bronx and decades of divestment to education, a literacy crisis has come to fruition in The Bronx.
The title of the film is derived from the estimated population total of the Bronx as of 2019, which is 1.5 Million. During the first two years of production, there were zero bookstores in operation in The Bronx, making it the only borough within New York City to have this dubious honor.
Filmed over four years, 1.5 Million brings us The Bronx from 1997 when the borough had only two bookstores, to 2019 when the borough was without a single chain or independent bookstore, until the opening of The Lit Bar. Since then, more bookstore ventures have launched.
Filmmaker Gregory Hernandez created this film because he believes this is a film that needs to be made and seen. Being from The Bronx, he has a personal stake in leveraging his skills as a filmmaker to improve his immediate surroundings.