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Film About Poverty In Spokane Featured At Wednesday Fundraiser

Cameron Day

On Wednesday, a new film about Spokane’s people in poverty will get a public screening at the Magic Lantern Theater in downtown Spokane. It’s a fundraiser for A Cup of Cool Water, a non-profit that helps homeless youth.

“A Walk Through Poverty” is a half-hour documentary that was commissioned by John J. Hemmingson Philanthropy. Spokane Neighborhood Action Programs (SNAP) was also involved.

(female voice from the movie) “People will just say, ‘Why can’t you fix poverty?’ There’s usually no one answer," said Julie Honekamp from SNAP. "It’s not just economic or not just health-related or not just connection to others. It’s usually a myriad of different symptoms that feed into the systemic nature of poverty. And again, they’re usually as individual as we are.”

The film was produced and directed by Megan Schuyler Kennedy from Rogue Heart Media in Spokane.

“I think a lot of times when you’re dealing with issues of poverty or homelessness, there’s this instinct to make it very gritty or make it feel otherworldly and the reality is poverty is a spectrum and it’s our neighbors and our friends and our co-workers who are living it," Kennedy said. 

"And so to be able to go and share very personal stories in a way that was very unintrusive, but also very intimate, was just the way to go and that’s what we’ve gotten the most reaction to is just this feeling of ‘I can just relate to this. This could be my friend. This could be my sister, my brother.’ That was really the goal behind the piece was opening eyes to see that oftentimes poverty is situational and none of us are insulated from it,” she said.

(female voice from the film) “One of what I consider my own biggest flaws is that ‘what did I do to deserve all of this?’ Because it seems like the challenges keep coming. You’ve always got to look for that little light and it could be in the smallest of things.”

“We tried to walk that line of walking along with folks who are experiencing it currently as well as some folks that were able to be more reflective on it, not trying to be there with someone in the middle of maybe the most stressful chapter of their life. So that was a sensitivity we had," Kennedy said. "We wanted it to feel real and immersive, but we also wanted to respect the fact that this is somebody that might be dealing with a very big struggle and giving them a little distance from that core challenge was important as well.”

(clip from the movie) “Some of the folks we’re housing now have been homeless for 10 to 20 years. It’s hard to get them off the street and it’s hard to get the street out of them. Some things have to be relearned. We have to change to meet the needs of who we’re seeing and what we’re seeing,” said Bob Peeler from SNAP.

“So what is success with this movie?” Doug Nadvornick asked.

“Success with this movie is getting it in front of as many eyes and hearts as possible," Kennedy said. "It’s been very exciting to see the reaction so far. We have had almost 40 screening requests at this point, everything from universities to large corporations to small church groups and even little roundtables of sack lunch viewing in a small office downtown.”

Megan Kennedy is the director and producer of “A Walk Through Poverty.” The Wednesday night screening will start at 6 at the Magic Lantern. A panel discussion will follow.

You can make arrangements to screen the film at one of your events by going to Walk Through Poverty dot com.


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