Entertainment

When professional turns personal

Dawnellda Gauthier, left, is one of four homeless people in Victoria featured in Krista Loughton’s documentary Us and Them. Loughton, right, is raising money to help finish the project. - Courtesy of Darby Magill
Dawnellda Gauthier, left, is one of four homeless people in Victoria featured in Krista Loughton’s documentary Us and Them. Loughton, right, is raising money to help finish the project.
— image credit: Courtesy of Darby Magill

When Krista Loughton set out to make a documentary on homelessness and the struggles of addiction she never imagined how personal the project would become.

The film, entitled Us and Them, became so personal, in fact, Loughton had to set it aside for two years after filming before she could tackle the job of editing it.

“I basically took a couple of years to just heal myself, to the place where I could actually go back to the footage,” Loughton said. “For a long time I’d try to work on the film and I’d just end up in tears.”

Loughton and co-director and director of photography David Malysheff began shooting the documentary in 2006 from an idea Loughton came up with after meeting and becoming close with a number of former addicts when she lived in Vancouver.

Through the help of Our Place Society founder Reverend Allen Tysick, the filmmakers met and started to document the lives of four homeless people in Victoria.

From 2006 until 2010, the filmmakers followed their lives as they struggled with addiction, homelessness and their attempts to heal.

During this time Loughton became extremely close with her subjects and each became a part of the others’ lives.

“There was a lot of good moments and depth and insight into the lives of my friends, as they became very close to me over this time period,” Loughton said. “But it wasn’t making significant changes in their lives.”

During filming one of the worst imaginable situations occurred: in November 2009 one of the subjects of the film died. Stan Hunter died from pancreatic cancer. His death drove home to Loughton how important her project had become and how much help the people she was following needed.

Through this and a confrontation with her own personal problems, Loughton found herself becoming a subject in her own film.

“My personal issues also became part of the plot,” Loughton said. “Not on purpose, it’s just what happened. And that’s documentary.”

Ready to once again approach the film, Loughton is trying to raise enough money for post-production. The goal is to raise $25,000 by Friday, Jan. 4. She is hoping the generosity of many will be the key to raising the money.

Businesses are invited to donate larger amounts to have their logos appear on the credits.

After the film has been finished and sold to a distributor, all profits will go back to service providers for the homeless in Victoria.

“People are dying at an alarming rate and they’re suffering,” Loughton said. “That’s my intention, to show (the audience) that and to induce compassion for people that are living on the street, so that we can, as a community, address the situation.”

By the News’ press time on Friday, Dec. 28, more than $7,200 had been raised.

For more information and to donate visit indiegogo.com/usandthem.

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