We thought some of our production days were long. That was until we screened The Homestretch 4 times in 48 hours, in 3 different states, in 4 different theaters. Exhaustion aside, our East Coast premieres at AFI Docs and Human Rights Watch Film Festival were extremely valuable. These experiences allowed our team and our audience to look at homelessness first, as a policy issue, and second, as a human rights issue.
Our run at AFI Docs (Washington, D.C) started on Capitol Hill where we hosted a breakfast alongside Senator Richard & Cynthia Blumenthal and H. Dale & Elizabeth Hemmerdinger. This event brought together Senators, political staffers, and thought leaders, as we discussed how to best serve homeless youth. Anthony, Kasey, and Roque told their micro stories, NN4Y and NAECHY spoke to the macro issue, and everyone came a little closer to addressing this pervasive problem.
The subsequent screenings at AFI Docs were a perfect compliment to these weighty policy talks. The Homestretch gives a face to the statistics and a voice to the silenced, and our D.C. audiences were undeniably moved.
229 miles away, our New York City premiere was sold out and our Amtrak train was on schedule.
The Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center is breathtaking. The giant screen, crisp sound, and plush seats served as an interesting foil for the coarse stories it featured during the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. This setting gave the plight of homeless youth center stage, and reminded the audience of the issue's importance. New York City struggles to support its unaccompanied homeless youth just as much as Chicago; The Homestretch shows that communities across the country need to start making changes.
As our whirlwind trip came to a close with one final screening at the IFC Center, it was clear that the film's impact is building. Individuals are shifting their perspectives, organizations are reevaluating their efforts, and audiences are empathizing with the extraordinary individuals The Homestretch features.
Chicago is next. After that, we roll the film out across the country. If you would like to bring The Homestretch to your town, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.