Thank you to Susan Davis and her staff for organizing the @home film screening at the Central Library in Indianapolis. I was glad to see that a good crowd showed up on a lovely summer night to watch a film about homelessness. Many in the crowd work in homeless services, some were homeless people themselves and many were just curious about what Mark and the film could tell them. This mix made for a great discussion afterwards, and audience members pushed Mark to give them tangible advice and possible solutions to the crisis in their community.
I am always grateful to those in our audiences who stand up and share their story. I think it’s a great testament to Mark’s work and the film that people feel empowered to do so. They tell me that they feel comfortable sharing because Mark has been through the same things, and they trust him.
It has been a little over a year since @home premiered in Chicago and almost five years to the day since we started filming. Since that time there has been some movement around veteran and youth homelessness, but in general, the issue remains daunting. Mark presented a few staggering statistics, the one that stayed with me: 22% of Americans believe that homeless people have no redeeming value.
I am now very aware of homeless populations when I go to a new city to screen the film. But during our screening in Indiana, I still got it wrong, when I tried to identify who among the audience was homeless and who was not. Stereotypes don’t tell the whole story, and as Pathways to Housing founder Sam Tsemberis says in the film, people are still slipping through the cracks of the middle class. I’m also well aware that many people with full time employment still struggle to get by.
One piece of good news is that Mark himself has found security. After moving to Syracuse, New York, leaving his years in Hollywood and LA behind, he has a well paying job in marketing, a very nice place to live and has resumed a social life. This was heartening to hear and I am truly happy for him. My hope is that his story and this film can work as a catalyst to help others get to that same stable place.
Susanne Suffredin, Director @home