Seattle University, four animated shorts, and a determination to change the way people see family homelessness
Written by Haley Jo Lewis, Student Project Assistant for the Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness
Seattle University: empowering leaders for a just and humane world. But what does that really look like?
It was a sold-out show on May 19 at the Harvard Exit theatre. While a sold-out show is not necessarily unusual, the content of the films made it remarkable. The films, titled collectively as American Refugees, are four animated shorts that tell the stories of families, homelessness and their resilience against all odds.
Seattle University’s Film and Family Homelessness Project had recruited five professional filmmakers to create these films. Seattle University students were involved throughout the process — assisting the filmmakers as Student Fellows, helping to develop discussion guides, designing collateral and finally, volunteering at the event itself.
It was great seeing so many Seattle University students at the event, said Lindy Boustedt, producer of all four films and Project Manager of the Seattle University Film and Family Homeless Project. “You could really tell that it was a Seattle University event. They were classy, helpful, and a great representation of the university.”
Seattle University participants also got a chance to speak with the filmmakers and the artists who worked on the films. One particularly special guest — Tilawn, whose story was headlined in the film “The Beast Inside” — was a big hit with Seattle U students. Senior Alec Gress said, “I really liked getting to know the filmmakers, and getting to meet Tilawn!” The Seattle U students really identified with his story, as he is a young adult, much like us — except he’s not struggling to get through finals, he’s struggling to survive on the streets.
At the after party, guests were not only fed and entertained, but also were given unique opportunities to engage with materials from the films. Above, another Seattle University student and I stand in front of a green screen. Below that photo, an example of one of the backdrops. Firesteel set up this super-cool photo booth, where participants are put into scenes from the animated films they had just watched…technology rules!
All in all, it was a very successful night. I was so excited to see so many familiar faces. Seeing my peers engaging with homelessness was really exciting for me. From the packed theatre to the line for the green screen photo booth, Seattle U’s American Refugees premiere was a hit.
To watch the films and learn more about American Refugees, visit their webpage.