By Tim Collins
A documentary film, 14 years in the making, is currently being screened at the meeting of the Union of B.C. Municipalities and Krista Loughton, the film’s co-writer and director, is pleased with the reaction it has provoked. It is a film that chronicles the lives of a group of homeless individuals in a uniquely compassionate and personal manner, in large part because Loughton did more than film the subjects, she became their friend.
Loughton’s own battles with depression form a part of the film’s narrative as it tells of how she first set out to “save” her friends only to find herself saved by those same friends.
“It’s fantastic. When the film ends and the house lights come up, you can hear a pin drop,” said Loughton. “I’m certain that people who see the film will never look at the homeless the same way again.”
She says the message of the film is one of compassion and its aim is to smash the stereotypes of some of the most vulnerable Canadians.
“People are suffering and dying and we need to do something about it,” said Loughton, stressing how her film manages to peel away the complex layers of existence to reveal what lies beneath the life situations leading to homelessness. She adds that every story is different and the causes of people’s life situation are often far more complex than one might imagine.
Us & Them deals with the issue of homelessness within the context of the First Nations medicine wheel: a concept to which Loughton was first exposed to in Vancouver in 2002 in which the mental, physical, spiritual and emotional aspects of every person are examined in an effort to help them heal and once again become whole. It’s an approach that Loughton claims has been tremendously effective for those facing addiction issues and mental health challenges.
Loughton shot most of the film in Victoria in partnership with documentary film maker Jennifer Abbots and David Malysheff of Gamut Productions. The film was completed in 2015 and first screened at Victoria City Hall Council Chambers in December of that year. Since that time it has been shown in Vancouver and Sidney, and is ready to start a cross country tour beginning Oct.11 at the University of Victoria’s Cinecenta. From there the film will move on to Winnipeg, Brandon and Ottawa where Loughton hopes it will be screened for MP’s on Parliament Hill.
Ticket information for the Oct. 11 screening of the film is available at events.uvic.ca.