By Catherine Hinrichsen, Project Director, Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness
A film about homelessness was named among the top 10 best films of the entire decade. That’s something we couldn’t have foreseen when we first hosted a film screening in 2011, in the anxious moments when we wondered whether anyone would want to come and watch a movie about homelessness.
Then came a stream of memorable characters, stories and performances, as well as creative ways to frame a story about homelessness and ground-breaking access to the people experiencing it.
As the decade’s Top 10 lists began popping up everywhere, and as our project celebrates our 10th anniversary, it’s a good time to reflect on some of the many excellent films made in the 2010s that deal profoundly and sensitively with homelessness. Continue reading →
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
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.)
How partners across Washington state are using art for advocacy around homelessness.
By Catherine Hinrichsen, Project Director, Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness
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.
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 →
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
Editor’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?”
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 →
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.
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:
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.”
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.