Home Is... was a 2010 community-based project involving Hidden Voices and the Town of Chapel Hill's Cultural Arts Division highlighting stories from different homeless populations in the area. In part of this project students from the Advanced Media Lab at NC State University, led by artist/filmmaker Patrick FitzGerald, have created a series of short animated films that seek to bring public awareness to the many issues of homelessness. These films debuted May 14, 2010 as part of the Second Friday Art Walk on Peace and Justice Plaza in front of the Old Post Office on the corner of Franklin & Henderson Streets.
The films are based on taped interviews with different homeless populations conducted over the course of several months in different shelters and social service facilities throughout Orange County by Hidden Voices staff and volunteers. The student filmmakers utilized a variety of animation methods including stop-motion, hand-drawn, laser-cut, and digital/blue screen to creatively illustrate the compelling words and stories of the people affected, like Anna; “I couldn’t work because of my back. The medical bills kept piling up and then the money ran out. I never thought a hard working girl with two college degrees would wind up in a homeless shelter, but I did.” This and other quotes became the basis for the interpretive animations that explore medical bankruptcy, homeless veterans, transient housing, escaping domestic violence, foster children aging out of support systems, immigrants and refugees, parental rejection of LGBT teens, and the working homeless. Visit the YouTube links below to view films on particular topics by the listed filmmakers:
Chapter 1 - Domestic Violence (Corban Prim, Michael Delaney, Sam Brubaker, Ashley Wagner), Refugees (Monique Cleveland, Joe Lawson), Homeless Children (Derek MacLellen, Lidia Churakova, Kat Saville)
Chapter 2 - Mental Illness (Kendal Draper, Menes Kedar, Justin Phillips), Immigration (Wu Fei, Blakeley Pritchard), Medical Illness (Greg Pray)
Chapter 3 - Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Issues (Donnie Wrights, Bethany Minervino, Andrew Sartori), Veteran Homelessness (Brian Burnette, Thais Lopes, Lauren Ramsey), Multiple Homelessness Issues (Rebecca Roddenberry)
This animation project sponsored by the Chapel Hill Public and Cultural Arts Office is a part of a larger project coordinated by Hidden Voices. The overall project includes writings, photography, and performances created by homeless members of our communities, as well as a digital audio and print tour, an exhibit, and a school curriculum guide for implementing a focus on issues of homelessness. The image above is a still from Derek MacLellen's film, Brandon's Story.