The Game Plan

As yesterday’s blog mentioned, I will be covering the Sarasota Film Festival regarding the theme of homelessness. I had the good fortune to speak with Michael Dunaway about the intentions behind choosing a theme on my radio show, Renaissance SRQ, and we both agree that art is a conduit for social change, especially the medium of film. That is, after all, the reason I started the Home Free project in the first place.

When I went to film school, it was because I wanted to be a storyteller, and based on how much television I watched as a child and a four year career as a cinema box office attendant, film has been very influential in the way I think that stories should be told. As I’ve discovered already with the Home Free project, there are many stories to be told about the homeless experience. Ultimately, it is my hope for the Sarasota community to embrace these films so that we will be more able to embrace those who have stories that are yet untold.

It’s interesting that on the same day that I submitted my resume to Tom Barwin to take on the role of Homeless Coordinator I get a request from Jacob Ogles asking me to write about the homelessness theme in the Sarasota Film Festival. Then, as I am about to finish my shift working at the festival box office, who shows up but Tom Barwin. I ensured that he got my email, and he said that he appreciates what I do, and then I got him his tickets for the opening night film, Time Out of Mind.

Unfortunately, that is one of the films that it seems that I am not going to be able to blog about, as the screening is on standby, and I don’t have a ticket. However, if any of you SRQ Backlot readers have an extra ticket and want to be accompanied by an actor in one of last year’s films, I have shaved since taking on the role of William Whitaker for No Real Than You Are, and I’m likely to even take a bath. And of course, you’ll also get mad props here in the blog.

Saturday is big time homelessness day at the film festival. Starting off at 10:30, there is the Sundance Institute Challenge sponsored by the Bill Gates Foundation. This group of shorts was so effective at covering the realm of poverty and homelessness from so many vantage points at Sundance that they decided to just replicate the whole thing here in Sarasota. In the world of film festivals, that’s historic.

Shortly after that at 11, over at the Hollywood 20, Heaven Knows What will begin its first screening, but if you miss it, you can catch it again on Sunday at 9pm. If you are missing it, it’s because you’re going to be watching the Sundance deal and gearing up for the panel discussion starting at 12:30. Again, this is going to be historic.

Then, I’m going to go work in the box office for a few hours and sell tickets to Homme Less at 4:15 and Queen Mimi at 7:45. You may also want to consider going to see Houses at 7:15. These three are all documentaries, while Time Out of Mind, Heaven Knows What, and Homeless, which screens on Tuesday at 8:15pm and Wednesday at 5:15pm, are narratives.

So if you want to watch some films with me and give me your two cents on how Sarasota needs to move forward on this problem, I’ll have my camera ready, and we can tell this story together.

In the meantime, check out the latest episode of the Home Free project about the tiny house movement that is starting in Sarasota as one of many answers to affordable housing and more conscious living.

Steve McAllister is the author of How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld, the producer of the Home Free Project, and a staff writer at Blink;tech, among other things.

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