Late this Spring I initiated a conversation with filmmaker, and my childhood friend, Krista Loughton. We had reconnected on Facebook some years earlier and I had been following her plight to raise funds to complete a documentary. Lougthton along with Jennifer Abbott wrote and directed the film. Abbott is best known for her work on The Corporation, a Canadian documentary with 26 International Awards under its belt. The Corporation is a “provoking, witty, stylish and sweepingly informative, it explores the nature and spectacular rise of the dominant institution of our time.” (Source thecorporation.com)
Us & Them was filmed over a decade and begins when Loughton is questioned by addiction expert Dr. Gabor Maté about her need to relieve pain in the world. This takes her back in time, when she befriended four chronically homeless people in an effort to help them heal their lives.
These four charismatic people reveal the heartrending realities of their lives. The severe challenges of life on the street are portrayed with an unapologetic openness, in both emotive and humorous ways. All are struggling with addiction issues rooted in their painful childhood histories.
Loughton finds a mentor in Reverend Allen Tysick, a street minister who dedicated his life to serving the poorest of the poor. Watching him build a new facility for the street community inspires her to create change in her own way.
Years ago, Loughton had been introduced to the First Nations Medicine Wheel and its success helping former addicts maintain recovery. Under the mentorship of Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr., she decides to teach her friends how to balance on the Medicine Wheel. They learn to take stock of themselves physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, in an attempt to help balance and heal their lives. (Source usandthemthefilm.ca)
Loughton has created something very special with this film, and said "I want people to watch the film and never look at a street person, or themselves, in the same way again.” And after having viewed the film, I would say she has absolutely achieved that success, among others.
Local support and endorsement for Loughton’s work has been provided by myITsource, Westoba Credit Union, J&G Homes, Service Canada, Landmark Cinema 9, Howling the Night Away, BDO, Victoria Inn, Leech Printing, United Way Brandon & District and LaBuick & Co.
The film has been screened in Victoria, Sidney, Campbell River, Galiano Island, and Vancouver, BC. It is also set to screen in Winnipeg, Brandon, North Cowichan, Maple Ridge, and Toronto. Loughton is also currently working to screen in La Loche, SK, which means she can take Karen one of the film key characters, home. And lastly, Loughton is on the verge of confirming an official screening on Parliament Hill in Ottawa this fall.
The Community Screening for Us & Them is scheduled for 13 October at 7:00 PM. There is no ticket fee, but attendees are asked to bring a can of soup and donate at entry, all of which will be given to Helping Hands Soup Kitchen. Register by using this link: Us & Them Community Screening.
There will be a Question & Answer panel post screening that includes; documentarian Krista Loughton, Mayor Rick Chrest, J&G Homes CFO Tamra Rapsky, United Way CEO Cynamon Mychasiw, Housing First Coordinator and City Councillor Kris Desjarlais.
For more information please contact Tanya LaBuick at firstname.lastname@example.org or the United Way at(204) 571-8929.