Wednesday, August 26, 2015

"Cinema from the Street", Part 2, in Washington DC ("Raise to Rise", "Whom Should I Be Grateful to?"): two homeless women chronicle their own lives



The group “Street Sense” in Washington DC presented two “reality” films shot by homeless women tonight at Landmark E Street Cinema, presented as Part 2 of “Cinema from the Street”, produced by Bryan Bello, with homeless person’s filmmaking cooperative project.

The first film was “Raise to Rise” (about 35 minutes) by Sasha Williams, produced by Angie Whitehurst.  Sasha creates and maintains an iPhone diary of her experience raising her daughter in a homeless shelter, which had been created from the old DC General Hospital near RFK Stadium and the Armory. She actually builds some family life in the little room, while the daughter ventures around, sometimes to play with automated toys outside. 

The second film was “Whom Should I Be Grateful to?” (again, about 35 minutes) by Cynthia Mewborn, who lives alone, but becomes very determined not to take abuse by others, especially men in the apartment.  “I am only a victim if I allow myself to be”, she says.  Eventually she throws away her street blankets as a way of letting go. Her tone is much more determined, much angrier than Sasha’s.

In the QA, both filmmakers were asked what should be done to reduce or end homelessness.  Cynthia suggested the quasi-Maoist idea that the president and members of Congress should experience living with the homeless for a few days.  But you could ask that of anyone.
Cynthia also explained how it felt to gradually become recognized publicly as an artist.  Her new book will be called “Nature Is God”.

Petula Dvorak has an article about the films in the Washington Post Tuesday, “How a life filled with wrong turns leads to a moving chronicle of homelessness”, link here.

The session was held in the largest auditorium (#4), sold out.  Tickets could be purchased from Street Sense directly on PayPal but not by credit card (as far as I could tell), and were not sold directly by the theater. 

Update: Aug. 31

Check Youtube for "Without a Roof" by Gordon Sun (Issues blog, Aug. 30). 

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