Mothers, Daughters, Conflict — The New “Tiny” Movie Hits Home

 

Editor’s Note: As part of our ongoing “Streetwise Revisited” work, our student project assistants are blogging about key events. Both Khadija and Shan wrote about the “TINY” screening, first Shan and now Khadija.

By Khadija Diallo, Project Assistant, Project on Family Homelessness

khadija-tiny-screening-black-eye
“LaShawndrea with a black eye doing her hair,” the photo that struck me most. Credit:  Photo I took of the photo by Mary Ellen Mark from the book “Streetwise Revisited.”

 

 

There’s a teenage girl with a black eye in photographer Mary Ellen Mark’s book “Tiny: Streetwise Revisited.” She is LaShawndrea, the eldest daughter of Erin “Tiny” Blackwell. Of all the remarkable photos in that book, this one really struck me.

When I saw the film “TINY: The Life of Erin Blackwell” on Oct. 14, 2016 at the Seattle Public Library, it was LaShawndrea again who intrigued me the most. I sympathized with her because of a scene where she complains that Erin was not there for her. “She’s rejected me a lot,” narrates LaShawndrea.

I related to that scene because it reminded me of the strained relationship between my mother and grandmother; I have heard my mother make a similar remark about my grandmother which was one main reason LaShawndrea resonated with me. I can understand how it hurts to not feel true love from your mother. It seems the rejection from her mother has impacted LaShawndrea into her adult life.

The screening of “TINY” was part of The Seattle Public Library’s  public education program, “Streetwise Revisited,” which focused on “Tiny” from the 1984 documentary film “Streetwise.” Our project was a community partner, and we participated by screening the original “Streetwise” film, among other activities. (You can read my post about “Streetwise” and our guest, Erin’s daughter Keanna, here.)

Continue reading

A Tribute to Barry Mitzman

As our founder leaves, we reflect on what he’s taught our community about ending family homelessness

By Catherine Hinrichsen, Project Director
Sharon James_Barry at end
Barry Mitzman, delivering his lecture “A Quiet Crisis,” in which he reflects on six years leading our family homelessness projects at Seattle University. Photo by Steve Schimmelman.

Continue reading

Art for Advocacy: The Face of Family Homelessness

How partners across Washington state are using art for advocacy around homelessness.

By Catherine Hinrichsen, Project Director, Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness

Inocente at SAM walking down aisle by Steve Schimmelman

Partnering with Seattle Art Museum for the screening of “Inocente” allowed us to reach a new audience of art lovers. Here, they give Inocente a standing ovation at the conclusion of the film. Photo by Steve Schimmelman. 

Republished from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, April 7, 2016.

A young woman of color takes the stage. With a quick prop change and shift of her posture, she becomes several different characters: a young military veteran, a successful business executive, a street paper vendor, all of whom have been hit with homelessness. Continue reading

“The Story Told Itself” — Catching Up with Tiny

Film about formerly homeless teen is screened at NAEH Conference

By Catherine Hinrichsen, Project Director, Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness
Erin (who goes by her street name “Tiny”) on Pike Street, Seattle, 1983
Erin (who goes by her street name “Tiny”) on Pike Street, Seattle, 1983. Photo by Mary Ellen Mark, courtesy of Falkland Road Productions.

The revered documentary photographer Mary Ellen Mark died months ago, but we felt her presence very strongly as we watched her final work on the night of Feb. 18, 2016. Continue reading

A Night of Optimism About Homelessness — All Home’s “Engage-Raiser”

 

Erin with frame snip
Our partner Erin Murphy of Housing Development Consortium inspired this “Polaroid frame” designed for maximum photo sharing, complete with logo and hashtag #allhomeoptimism.

More than 200 energized community members gathered at the new Optimism Brewing Co. on Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood Tuesday night, Nov. 17, for “All Home @ Optimism.” Continue reading

Portraits of Homelessness

Sharing the Depth of the Human Experience: “Portraits of Homelessness” at the 2015 Global Street Paper Summit

By Lindsey Habenicht, Project Assistant, Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness

Lindsey with conference passEditor’s Note: Seattle University hosted the International Network of Street Papers (INSP)  Global Street Paper Summit June 24-26, 2015, which welcomed more than 120 journalists from street papers in 22 countries, including Seattle’s Real Change. Our assistant, Lindsey Habenicht (above), is spending the summer as an intern for one of those papers, Street Sense of Washington, D.C. Before she left Seattle, Lindsey attended the Summit as a street paper communicator and volunteer blogger. This is an adapted version of Lindsey’s post for the Summit.

The narrative of what homelessness is and is not is often uninformed, uneducated, and even unknown completely. While many are aware of the issue of homelessness, they remain unaware of the person: the veteran, the child, the musician, the artist, the entrepreneur, and the like.

“Why is that?” asked Rex Hohlbein of Facing Homelessness. “How could [we] be so disconnected from the simple and obvious fact that homelessness involves real people with real suffering?”

Rex

Keynote speaker Rex Holbein started the Facebook page “Homeless in Seattle”’ in March of 2011 to share something beautiful about each person living on the street. Photo courtesy of facinghomelessness.org

Rex was the keynote speaker at the Global Street Paper Summit’s opening night event, “Portraits of Homelessness,” June 24, which told stories through more than 100 works of visual art, films and audio recordings. Continue reading

Local Story Behind Debut of “@home” on Chicago PBS Station

Photo Tiana Haley @home t-shirts
Seattle U students Haley Lewis (L) and Tiana Quitugua (R) model their new t-shirts featuring the artwork Haley created for “@home.” Photo by Catherine Hinrichsen.

Tomorrow night, a powerful new documentary will have its broadcast premiere, on Chicago’s WTTW-TV, Channel 11 (PBS), 9 p.m. Central. So, this is a great time to reflect on one of the highlights of our year: hosting the remarkable e-activist Mark Horvath for the Seattle premiere of the film about him, “@home.”

We were thrilled to bring Mark and the film’s director, Susanne Suffredin, here in May for the premiere, which kicked off another highlight of our year, the Hack to End Homelessness.

Watching the film in prep for the screening, our student Haley Jo Lewis was inspired to create an illustration about Mark. The film’s producers, the Kindling Group, liked the art so much that they used it to print t-shirts for their outreach campaign. The shirts arrived last week! Haley and our project assistant and recent SU grad, Tiana Quitugua, were happy to model the shirts; see the photo above.

@ home drawing, Haley Lewis, @hardlynormal
Haley tweeted her illustration at Mark in April, and he took notice!

Continue reading

The Stranger Genius Award Goes To Family Homelessness Film Fellow

Drew Christie drawing by Haley
Drew Christie, as seen by Seattle University student Haley Jo Lewis.

Congratulations to our Film Fellow Drew Christie, winner of a coveted Genius Award from The Stranger! At the ceremony Saturday night, Oct. 18, Drew was named as winner of the Film category for his impressive body of work, including more “op-docs” for the New York Times than any other artist.

The nominations were announced in June, just after Drew had completed his work on “The Beast Inside,” the animated short film he co-directed with Amy Enser (produced by Lindy Boustedt). That film is the main reason we were rooting for him.

In the nomination write-up, Charles Mudede of The Stranger wrote:

Continue reading

The Smiths — The Film About Homelessness That Had To Be Made

A new animated film about family homelessness and helping neighbors 

By Lisa Gustaveson, Project Manager for Seattle University’s Faith & Family Homelessness Project

As program manager for Seattle University’s Faith & Family Homelessness Project, I spend much of my time visiting local emergency shelters, churches, synagogues and mosques. During my visits, I often meet dedicated volunteers who spend countless hours providing meals, collecting clothes, back to school supplies, and hygiene items, for people experiencing homelessness (you all know who you are!).

During these visits, the question I am most frequently asked by volunteers is, does any of this make a difference? They wonder if they really are helping to end family homelessness.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and unappreciated when the number of homeless families seems to grow every day. It’s also hard to find the best way to describe the importance of each and every act of kindness, how all those little gestures make a difference.

That’s why I was so excited when I learned about filmmaker Neely Goniodsky’s plans to create the short animated film, “The Smiths,” as part of Seattle University’s Film and Family Homelessness Project.

“The Smiths” is one of four short films created through the project, collectively titled “American Refugees.”

 

The Smiths American refugees

A still from the film “The Smiths.” The vivid colors used throughout the film convey the intense emotions of a family who is homeless, as they try to make ends meet.

I was a member of the project’s advisory team, so I had the opportunity to read the proposal by Neely Goniodsky. As I read it, I knew that the film should be – no, HAD to be – made.

Continue reading

The Beast Inside — A Story of Relentless Positivity

By Krista Kent, project assistant, Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness and Digital Design senior, Seattle U

Note: This is the third in a series in which we ask our staff to react to the “American Refugees” film that most appealed to them.

 

“I try my best. I see hundreds of people doing thousands of times better. If I keep doing my best and can’t make it, then I have to find some other way of survival.”

 

When life has taken a turn for the worse, it can be hard to stay positive. If you had no roof to sleep under and were left with no choice but to ask strangers for spare change, only to receive a condescending look at best, how would you hold up?

How would you react if someone told you to “get a job, you bum,” without knowing the circumstances you were in? Would it be easy to fight the “beast inside” and stay positive?

For Tilawn, who has lived in a car with his dad and slept under bridges, the battle against homelessness hasn’t been easy, but he remains positive. The film “The Beast Inside” tells the story of Tilawn and the barriers he faces while being homeless.

The Beast Inside- Drew Christie and Amy Enser; the car that Tilawn lived in with his dad

Tilawn was homeless with his dad from age eight. They often lived in their car in Snohomish County, Wash. Image from The Beast Inside.

  Continue reading