There are approximately 1.7 million homeless teenagers in America. Last year, in Chicago alone, more than 22,000 youth were identified as homeless. Though having a home seems like it should be a right, nearly twenty percent of youth are without. Unless we’ve been homeless ourselves at some point, work for the Night Ministry or National Runaway Safeline, or in schools where the problem becomes entirely more evident, teenage homelessness often goes unnoticed. But “The Homestretch” changes that. The directors of the film, Anne de Mare and Kirsten Kelly, give visibility to an overwhelmingly invisible population, fixing the camera’s gaze on homeless youth, three teenagers, in particular–Kasey, Anthony, and Roque–each unique in their struggle, but common in their overall dilemma. The film follows them as they fight to graduate, secure roofs over their heads, navigate bigotry, deal with immigration obstacles, parent remotely, and contend with substance abuse–all the while seeking independence and self-actualization. Several screenings of the film are scheduled at the Siskel Film Center beginning November 21.
Best of Chicago 2014