|Production Still from The Homestretch|
Communication Department Professors Ruth Goldman, Meg Knowles and Michael Niman are proud to present a three-film documentary series for this semester. The first film screened with be The Homestretch, a 2014 documentary about homeless teens in Chicago. The film will be presented at the Burchfield Penney Art Center on Thursday, September 25 at 6:30 p.m. This 90-minute documentary was directed and produced by Anne De Mare and Kirsten Kelly. The series, Beyond Boundaries: Dare to be Diverse, is co-sponsored by the Buffalo State Office of Equity and Campus Diversity, Buffalo State's Department of Communication, the Buffalo State Office of Student Life and the Burchfield Penney Arts Center.
The Homestretch (trailer) from spargel productions on Vimeo.
Filmmaker Kirsten Kelly partnered with award winning director Anne De Mare over the course of five years to produce The Homestretch. De Mare and Kelly produced their first film together in 2009, titled Asparagus! Stalking the American Life. While working in Chicago, Kelly learned of the multitude of homeless teens flocking to the city. The women were granted access to Chicago Public Schools where they sought the backstories of kids who didn't fit the "homeless" stereotype.
Kasey, Anthony and Roque are smart, ambitious Chicago teens. Like many their age, they struggle to keep their grades up so they can graduate from high school. What sets them apart from other teens is that after the school day ends, they don't go home. Instead, they spend their nights looking for a warm, safe place to sleep. They're among the 19,000 homeless students in Chicago public schools, and like so many, they've fallen victim to issues of juvenile justice, immigration, foster care and LGBTQIA discrimination. This powerful documentary follows their stories, and those of the heroes and heroines who support them, as they work to overcome the trauma of abandonment at a very young age. They face overwhelming odds, but the courage and conviction of these three teens defies stereotypes in this story of struggle and triumph.
The documentary has already been screened at Toronto's Hot Docs as well as Gene Siskel's Film Center in Chicago. "Its intimacy is a reflection of its compassion…The Homestretch invites you to empathize with its subjects, to worry with them, to laugh with them, to worry about them. It's engaging and compelling viewing," says Glenn Kenny of RogerEbert.com
After the film, a panel of local experts from the non-profit community will lead a discussion. Candice Fletcher-Pacheco, Development Director of Compass House; Marvin L. Henchbarger, Executive Director of Gay and Lesbian Youth Services (GLYS); and Jennifer Ditta, Program Manager, Second Chance Home at Homespace will be be featured at the panel discussion.
The next films in the series will be Bipolarized on Thursday, October 16th and 15 to Life on Thursday, November 13th. For more information, visit the Beyond Boundaries Facebook page.
- by Lauren Cifra, '14 (Public Communication)