The Homestretch follows three remarkable homeless teens as they fight to stay in school, graduate, and build a more stable future. Each of these smart, resilient teenagers – Roque, Kasey, and Anthony – challenge stereotypes of homelessness as they work to complete their education while coping with the trauma of being alone and abandoned at an early age. Through haunting images, intimate scenes, and first-person narratives, these teens take us on their journeys of struggle and triumph. As their stories unfold, the film explores their plights within the larger issues of poverty, race, juvenile justice, immigration, foster care, and LGBTQ rights. The Homestretch is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, a public media initiative supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to help local communities across America address the high school dropout crisis. A co-production of Spargel Productions and Kartemquin Films, The Homestretch premieres on Independent Lens on Monday, April 13, 2015 at 10/9c (check local listings) on PBS.
For more information about the film, visit: http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/homestretch/
About the Subjects
Born and raised on the south side of Chicago, Kasey spent over a year bouncing around between friends, family members, and sleeping on the street after she came out as a lesbian and her family forced her out on her own. Kasey ultimately dropped out of high school her senior year. In the film, Kasey is just entering a new transitional home and is re-enrolled in school. Kasey is a poet, a painter, and a tremendous source of support for her huge network of friends.
Anthony spent his childhood in foster homes and went out on his own at the age of 14. After years of jumping from school to school and being homeless, he is proud to be self-taught. He recently earned his GED and was accepted into the Year Up Chicago Program where he has an internship in telecommunications. A talented poet, rapper, and entrepreneur, Anthony never stops planning and working for success.
Due to immigration complications, Roque was forced to separate from his family and fend for himself beginning in his sophomore year of high school. With an unstable family and housing situation, Roque spent several years drifting until one of his teachers introduced him to Shakespeare and acting and he became inspired to finish high school and go to college. With his teacher’s support, he hopes to go into theater and psychology and help others through some of the same challenges he has faced.
About the Filmmakers
Anne de Mare (Director/Producer) is an award-winning playwright, director, professional video artist, and filmmaker. She and Spargel Productions partner Kirsten Kelly completed their first documentary feature, Asparagus! Stalking the American Life, which broadcast regionally on public television in 2009. Anne’s original plays have been presented in Chicago, London, and New York, where she was a five-year resident artist with Richard Foreman’s legendary Ontological-Hysteric Theater. She is a founding member of the Independent Theater Company, the Nevermore Theater Project, and Theaters Against War. Her video work has been seen on stage at Lincoln Center and at the Park Avenue Armory, and she is currently working with Innovative Music Programs to develop the film component of Accidental Heroes, a multi-media performance work based on the lives of eastern and western European artists coming of age during the Cold War.
Kirsten Kelly (Director/Producer) is an award-winning documentary film and theater director who lives in Brooklyn, New York. She and filmmaker Anne de Mare founded Spargel Productions in 2002, to make their first feature documentary, Asparagus! Stalking the American Life, about Kelly’s hometown. The pair is currently in development for The Girl With the Rivet Gun, an animated new media documentary project on Rosie the Riveter. Her short film work has been seen at Juilliard and Lincoln Center. A two-time Helen Hayes-nominated Best Director, Kelly has directed award-winning theater productions in Chicago, Washington D.C. and Off-Broadway in New York. She is an arts educator and director and co-creator of CPS Shakespeare, a highly-acclaimed program that works with Chicago public high school students at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, which was featured on NBC Nightly News in 2010. Kelly is a graduate of Juilliard’s Master Directing program, where she received the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship and was a member of Rising Phoenix Repertory in New York.
About Community Cinema
Community Cinema is a national civic engagement initiative featuring free screenings of films from the Emmy® Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens. Presented by Independent Television Service (ITVS) in partnership with local public television stations and community organizations, these in-person events and online social screenings bring community members together to learn, discuss, and get involved in key social issues of our time. For a complete lineup and more information about the Community Cinema series visit: http://communitycinema.org.
About Independent Lens
Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing on PBS Monday nights at 10:00 p.m. The acclaimed series features documentaries united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of independent filmmakers. Presented by Independent Television Service, the series is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding from PBS and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. For more visit pbs.org/independentlens. Join the conversation: facebook.com/independentlens and on Twitter @IndependentLens.
About American Graduate
American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen is helping local communities identify and implement solutions to the high school dropout crisis. American Graduate demonstrates public media’s commitment to education and its deep roots in every community it serves. Beyond providing programming that educates, informs and inspires, public radio and television stations — locally owned and operated — are an important resource in helping to address critical issues, such as the dropout rate. In addition to national programming, more than 75 public radio and television stations in 33 states have launched on-the-ground efforts working with community and at risk youth to keep students on-track to high school graduation. More than 1000 partnerships have been formed locally through American Graduate, and CPB is working with Alma and Colin Powell’s America’s Promise Alliance and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. For more info visit http://www.americangraduate.org.