A documentary is being screened at the Grande Prairie Live Theatre Tuesday evening to put a spotlight on homelessness. The film is called “Us and Them” and it was put together by Canadian Documentary Filmmaker and Producer Krista Loughton.
Loughton explains that the footage was shot over ten years and it highlights her experience befriending four individuals that live on the streets. The goal was to help them, but they end up helping her.
“You’ll reflect on people living outside, but because my character is so open and honest about what she is going through, people reflect on themselves too,” said Loughton.
During the filming process, the Producer used a Medicine Wheel, a First Nation’s healing tool, under the guidance of Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Junior. She uses it for the people in the film and to move through her struggles after one of her friends pass away.
In order to make sure the other three don’t follow in the same footsteps, Loughton seeks the help of Doctor Gabor Maté, author of “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction”.
“My real inner, deep motivation comes up on camera. You’ll have to come to the film to see how they help me. It is really beautiful how they end up supporting and counseling me. I learned that the only person we can really heal is ourselves. We can support other people in that journey and we can cheer each other on. Each of us as individuals have to do our own work,” explained Loughton.
On top of community service providers, she hopes the Mayor, City Council members, and other local dignitaries can attend the screening. She also wants people who don’t experience homelessness every day to come out.
The United Way Alberta Northwest along with the HIV North Society Grande Prairie are putting on the event. It is a free event, but all 145 tickets have been claimed for the November 7 show. A donation is welcome at the door.
The film plays on the heels of the latest Point-In-Time Homeless Count being released for 2017. Results are set to be announced at noon Tuesday. In 2016, there were 127 people deemed homeless in Grande Prairie which is a 23 percent decrease since 2014, according to the City of Grande Prairie.
Photo courtesy of Krista Loughton