Documentary-Homelessness in America
Homelessness in America is an epidemic with no solution in sight. In fact, the issue is only growing—as seen recently in my home city of Minneapolis with the rise of its largest-ever tent city.
-Minneapolis Tent City, also known as "The Wall"
What's going on?
While experts offer some theories, rarely is there a comprehensive overview of this issue. So, I'm creating a documentary film offering just that.
With the story of the Minneapolis Tent City as its focus, this film will share the history, data, and stories around the issue of homelessness in America. This includes: the stories as told by the homeless themselves, the experiences and insights from those working with them, and various perspectives from the community.
-Some of the subjects I've interviewed
This project seeks to make sense of this issue, to uncover the causes and solutions while steering clear of the political sways so often affecting journalism today.
Would you contribute to help make this happen?
Much of the filming and research is complete. Here's what's next:
1. Hire help to edit the footage and design the graphical elements of the film
2. Conduct surveys at the Tent City to learn more about the causes of these residents' situations
3. Travel to Houston (Here's why: The Houston metropolitan area is the fifth-largest in the country. It's almost twice the size of Seattle (#15) as well as the Twin Cities (#16). And yet, the Twin Cities has more homeless people than Houston, while Seattle has almost TRIPLE what Houston has. What is Houston doing different? To what degree does policy affect homelessness? My visit to Houston will help me find out.)
4. My time to work on, and oversee, all the aspects of this film.
-Me at my home office
Besides the trip to Houston and some follow-up interviews, I'm looking to have filming finished within a week or two. Then, for the remainder of November, December, and January, I'll be working with my editing team. And by the end of January (or February), I hope to premiere this film in Minneapolis—an event contributors will be given a ticket to. (For contributors unable to attend, I will release the documentary to you on my YouTube channel shortly thereafter.)
Speaking of social media, see many more of my updates and photos from this project by going to my Facebook , Instagram , or Twitter.
By sharing the stories and lives of those caught up in this rising problem, and by offering clear analysis of this issue, my hope is this project illuminates the best way forward for addressing homelessness in America.
Thank you for your time, consideration, and contribution.
and Third Showing Tomorrow - Last Chance For Those Who Haven't Yet Redeemed Your Tickets
Dear Supporters, tomorrow evening is the third and final (planned) screening I have in Minneapolis of this film you helped create. Details here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/film-screening-the-wall-documentary-tickets-62389674195
I would love for all those who are yet to see this movie to be able to come tomorrow evening, but I know schedules don't always allow us to do all we'd like.
If you aren't able to come, you WILL have another chance either with future screenings OR when I eventually publish it on my YouTube channel. If you are able to come, or are on the fence, tomorrow night's screening will likely not sell out. So, feel free to make a last minute decision and just show up (with a guest if you like:)
Also, because this trio of opening screenings is coming to an end, I'll also be ending my posts to this GoFundMe. I'll certainly be continuing to update my future screening events, film festivals (hopefully), and new projects on the horizon. But I'll do so on my regular social media.
If you don't already, please follow me on any of the following:
And if you are interested in a closer connection with my work, join my weekly email by sending me an email indicating your interest in joining at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, if you're interested in further contributing to my ongoing efforts, I'm making ends meet by creating memberships at Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/ThePeriphery. In light of the recent YouTube "demonetizing" of many more types of videos, it's likely I'll be seeing my videos dealing with social topics disabled from making money. Patreon allows backers to give (starting at $1/mo.) on an ongoing basis, for which the creator (me) then provides perks.
In any case, thank you all again for contributing to this project on homelessness. We did it! And yet we've just begun.
I hope we stay in touch, because I'll be continuing my work on this and many other social issues.
Last night's screening of "The Wall" was incredible. The full theater loved the movie, and we had a powerful discussion about homelessness during the Q & A. But the highlight, by far and away, was the attendance of Audie (pictured).
Audie was one of the many campers I interviewed for this documentary. At the time, she struggled with addiction. Today, she's been sober for six months, which she stood and announced to the theater. Applause turned into a two-minute standing ovation as Audie wept tears of pride and gratitude for how far she's come.
Audie represents not just her own progress, but the progress of this issue we hope to motivate with this film. We raised over $1,400 last night we'll be contributing to people like Audie and others working to get out of homelessness and addiction.
None of this would have been possible without your initial support, which allowed me to begin this project. Thank you. Thank you from me, from Audie, and from all those at the theater last night.
Speaking of being in theater, some of you in the Twin Cities are yet to redeem your free ticket. The good news is that you have one more chance to do it. We have one more screening scheduled for Thursday evening, June 13 in Minneapolis. See details here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/film-screening-the-wall-documentary-tickets-62389674195
Lastly, if you want to arrange your own screening (for your work, non profit, church, classroom, etc), message me here or email me at email@example.com.
I slept surprisingly well Saturday night the 18th, the night before my documentary premiere. Days prior, I had lacked much spark, or many smiles. A combination of an approaching deadline, technical difficulties, and a counterproductive cycle of eating junk food for a quick but fleeting rush meant that by Thursday I was drained physically and sapped spiritually. From this place, I actually saw (and became afraid of) my documentary premiere not happening.
And then, it all began to change.
A friend's encouraging words jolted the pivot. Her reminder that my depleted state was temporary helped me to not take it so seriously. Her declaration that good things come from "hard work and good heart" reminded me of why I'm making this documentary.
From there, things began to fall into place.
I finalized the film Thursday night. I found a business to transfer the film to Blu Ray that Friday. And on Saturday, we did a tech check at the theater. Everything worked fine. Then the next day--after that surprisingly sound sleep--a few family and friends arrived early to help set everything up before the we opened the theater doors. Soon after we did so, a reporting crew from local news channel FOX9 arrived to cover the event. They'd stay for the film and get more than they anticipated when seeing in the theater audience the main character from my documentary. See more about this below.
About the screening event:
I opened with a welcome to the sell-out audience as well as a message about how people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs were filling those seats; that we all care about the issue of homelessness; and that, in fact, we need such a blend to best approach any social issue.
Then, it was showtime...
After the film, I spoke about making the documentary, about where donations from ticket proceeds are going, and then I took questions.
We are video recording my talks and the Q&A from each screening. I will make a video showcasing what I share and the Q&As from these events.
About the news story:
Earl, the resident of this homeless camp most featured throughout my film, showed up at the theater about halfway into the movie. I didn't know this until an audience member indicated this during the Q&A. The FOX9 reporter, too, made Earl the star of her segment, focusing on the difficulty he had watching himself on screen reliving these difficult days at The Wall homeless camp in Minneapolis.
See the FOX9 news story here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEgESsakOnw
Also in the audience, in the front row in fact, was a reporter with a Chinese-language publication. She actually emailed me just hours ago sharing her article about the event. You can see it here: https://www.worldjournal.com/6302642/article-%E7%B4%80%E9%8C%84%E7%89%87%E3%80%8C%E7%89%86%E3%80%8D-%E6%8A%AB%E9%9C%B2%E6%98%8E%E5%B7%9E%E9%81%8A%E6%B0%91%E5%9B%B0%E5%A2%83%E5%BC%95%E9%97%9C%E6%B3%A8/?ref=%E8%8A%9D%E5%8A%A0%E5%93%A5_%E6%96%B0%E8%81%9E%E7%B8%BD%E8%A6%BD
A bonus of this story: When I translated the Chinese article in my browser, I got to also enjoy the colorful wording:) According to Google Chrome interpretation of the written Chinese...
homeless = "tourist" (cause I guess they're both away from home?)
Minnesota = "Ming Dynasty" or "Mingzhou"
Ferdig = "Frederick" or "Fidick" or even "Fdick"
Perhaps due in part to the news coverage, my second screening coming up Monday, June 3 sold out the day after the May 19 premiere. As such, I've now scheduled a third showing at the same theater in Minneapolis for Thursday evening, June 13. It was awesome seeing some of you on the 19th, to show you the results of what you contributed toward. I look forward to meeting others of you coming up on June 3. Finally, to those in the area unable to attend either of these first two showings, I hope to see you on the 13th.
After the 13th? I'm not yet sure what I'll do. I may go to other cities. I may enter it in some film festivals. Please do reply to this update if you are interested in arranging a film screening and discussion--whether for your city, work, church, nonprofit, classroom, etc.
Whichever direction I take, getting it this far (thanks to all of you), has taught me about seeing through challenges and doubt--to realize the bright results waiting beyond.
What's so cool about this project, is that the recipients of these bright results include those receiving the proceeds from the ticket sales. For the premiere, we raised about $1,500. The sell-out showing coming up June 3 netted us about $1,300. With this $2,800 (plus whatever we raise from the June 13 showing), we'll be able to contribute to changing some lives in some pretty big ways. For example, I announced at the premiere that two recipients will be 10-year-old boy and girl twins forced to grow up without parents who were at The Wall, who are still homeless and battling their addictions, and who are featured in my film.
I guess this idea of service is quite fitting for this past week, as we in the U.S. celebrated Memorial Day, a time to recognize the service of others.
What better time to do something memorable for someone else:)