January 20, 2015 11:51 am
Kirsten Kelly and Anne de Mare's The Homestretch is challenging stereotypes of homelessness as it continues to tour the USA. The film, which follows the inspiring story of three homeless teenagers in Chicago, who fight to stay in school, graduate, and build a future, has over 50 public screenings already confirmed for 2015, many of them free, and with community discussions following the film. This follows over 150 screenings of the film in 2014, "at housing conferences and high schools, community centers and conference rooms, and sold-out audiences at film festivals and independent theaters in dozens of cities." Our philosophy that "every screening of The Homestretch is an opportunity to make an impact" is bearing fruit in many ways, as highlighted in the team's latest newsletter. The film is now also available to buy on DVD for both home video and educational use, and to watch on VOD. The Homestretch is a proud recent recipient of $15,000 in support from the Fledgling Fund, which was awarded for even further outreach and audience engagement as the film builds up to the a PBS broadcast premiere on Monday, April 13 at 10pm, as part of the Emmy Award winning series "Independent Lens." Co-Director Kirsten Kelly was recently interviewed for the Chicago Sun Times on her background in directing for the theater, and the importance Shakespeare played in establishing her relationship with the homeless teens in this film. After discovering that one of her students was homeless, she and de Mare hit the books: "...as Anne and I began to research the phenomenon we realized there were 15,000 CPS kids registered as homeless at that time, and that it also was a national problem. Thanks to grants from the MacArthur Foundation and Sundance, we began to study the situation and ended up following three Chicago kids — a Latino boy [who feels a particular connection with “Hamlet”], whose father was an illegal immigrant; a lesbian kicked out of her home by her mother; and a boy who has been placed in a transition home for teens," Kelly says in the interview. Five years later, its wonderful to see the film taking the lead in raising awareness of the issue. For a complete list of 2015 screenings, and to organize your own, visit The Homestretch website.