Making a film can be a daunting task under the best of circumstances, but making one without professional actors, without professional sets and on a $12,000 budget provides an exceptional challenge – one that writer/director, Clay Riley Hassler and his wife, producer Tif Hassler, faced with their first feature-length film, Homeless. Based on a true story, Homeless explores the reality of homelessness through the story of a teenage boy stranded on the streets and fighting to survive, and premieres this Monday before screening at the Sarasota Film Festival on Tuesday.
“We were just determined, more than anything, to get it done,” said Clay, who wrote the film based on the life of a personal friend, who approached Clay with his story, seeking help with his memoirs. Shooting the film in an active homeless shelter and casting from the homeless population itself, the Hasslers sought to bring the issue to light in as honest a manner as possible, regardless of the challenges presented.
“It’s a heavy dose of realism,” said Clay. “We want people to see homelessness not just as a stereotype or stigma, because they’re real people with real lives. It isn’t just somebody who’s down on their luck or people who suffer from addiction, but everyday, ordinary people. This is one story of thousands.”
Homeless screens this week at the Sarasota Film Festival on Apr. 14 at 8:15pm and Apr. 15 at 5:15pm. Both screenings are at Regal Hollywood 20.
Pictured: Clay Riley Hassler and Tif Hassler. Photo By: Shane Donglasan.