Drexel University senior, Kaitlynn Stein, will be making her film debut June 1 as “Homeless Chronicles” premieres. The documentary short features herself as a young woman who seeks the truth about why she became homeless as a child and confront how it has affected her along the way. Stein produced, directed and edited this personal film for her senior capstone project.
“The one thing I rarely ever shared with people is that I was homeless as a child. It wasn’t because I was ashamed or anything like that. It was because I never thought that it was important. Homelessness doesn’t define who I am. I am not a former homeless person. I am a writer, director, producer, cinematographer and editor who happened to be homeless as a child,” Stein wrote about the film.
Throughout the documentary, Kaitlynn talks to her mother and grandmother about the events of her childhood and visits the shelter in which she lived with her mother for a short time. Later she travels to Minnesota to confront the homeowner who kicked them out of her house, which continued their pattern of homelessness.
During the making of this documentary, Stein learns about Adverse Childhood Experiences, events which occur while growing up that have an impact on how you process later experiences in life. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has linked ACEs to risky health behaviors, chronic health conditions, low life potential and early death.
This knowledge caused Stein to realize that her homeless experience affected her more than she had originally thought. While growing up, Stein showed the effects of homelessness once she started middle school. She learns during the documentary that the events that took place in her life could be a result of a chain reaction that occurred during her mother’s childhood.
This film works to humanize and educate viewers on homelessness. Families account for one-third of the homeless population. On any given night in 2018, an average 180,413 individuals in families were homeless, though this statistic does not account for those who stayed with friends and other family or those who bounced from home to home.
“There is a stigma that is associated with homelessness that needs to be changed. People think homelessness is just the guy sleeping on the streets but it is so much more than that. There isn’t one type of person who is homeless. It only takes one unexpected life event to cause someone to become homeless” Stein said about her decision to make the film.
She has received help with distributing her documentary from students taking a special topics course this term called Digital Media Distribution. She was advised by professors Larry Epstein and Michelle McHugh.
The film will premiere June 1 at the Entertainment and Arts Society’s 4th Annual Night of the Arts. In addition to “Homeless Chronicles,” Night of the Arts will feature live music, theatre and dance performances, as well as visual artwork, and screenings of other student films. The event takes place in the URBN Annex from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are free for Drexel students, alumni and faculty, and $5 for general admission.
The short will arrive on Amazon Prime Video June 3 as part of Amazon’s first All Voices Film Festival. The new digital film festival seeks to celebrate and highlight voices from underrepresented communities.
The festival is judged based on both customer engagement within the June 3 – 17 screening window and rankings from a panel of judges. The winning film will receive a $25,000 prize and a tour of Amazon Studios in Culver City, California. Four other finalists will receive $10,000 each. Make sure to check out “Homeless Chronicles” on Amazon Prime Video to support Stein in the festival competition.
Watch the documentary on Amazon Prime here.