At first glance you'd think you’re going to see the typical story about homelessness, the shelters they live in and the food at the local mission. But a closer look at this film and all eyes are wide open.
Music is a universal language and for the homeless it could be survival. In this new documentary, “VOICES OF THE HOMELSS”, by Toni Jannotta, jazz artists talk about their shock and awe after listening to people who've lived in their cars, not for weeks, but years on the street.
Janotta is a Jazz Singer herself and has completed this production of "Voices of the Homeless" from a grant from the Ventura County Arts Council. Additionally, she has submitted it to the Downtown Film Festival, which will be held July 12-18 this year. DFF has become a launching pad for successful independent short film projects over the last few years, too.
This gripping story documents a performance piece where Jazz improvisers helped the homeless tell their own stories in concert (August, 2010).
More than 100 people gathered at the WAV in Ventura, California, to see the performance piece "Voices of the Homeless" where people who had been or currently are homeless, were the stars.
The jazz artists then played their instruments, which nearly cried as loud as their words and expressions after hearing story after story from people down on their luck and the journey they faced without choices. The comments from artists and homeless nearly make you cry just listening to how they handle it. They don’t ask for much and they don’t take anything for granted.
On stage, behind the homeless stood a quartet of L.A. and Ventura County's finest musicians ready to listen to these stories and improvise music to support the brave storytellers. "Voices of the Homeless" documentary intercuts interviews with the storytellers, the musicians, and the audience, with the live performances. The music and the testimony from each jazz artist sweeps your emotions off their feet and come right out the screen. And here’s why:
Unemployment and foreclosures are shoving low-income and middle-income Americans out of their homes. A report in 2011 shows the numbers are staggering and have more than doubled since the recession of 2009.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors published a survey a year ago that shows cities reporting that emergency shelters on a regular basis, had turned away nearly 20 percent of all requests due to “lack of resources.”
This documentary emerges with stories of wisdom amidst hardship that touched both the audience as well as the musicians, a film that should educate the public about the real face of homelessness, and honors the unique musicianship of Jazz Improvisers. "Voices of the Homeless", film worth sharing with friends, family and in schools nationwide.