Film industry and homelessness charities join forces to raise awareness

Big names from the film industry, including acclaimed Kenyan actor Oliver Litondo, are working in an unusual partnership with charities, including The Big Issue Foundation, to open people”s eyes to homelessness through the power of film.

The Truth About Stanley, a heartfelt drama set on the streets of London, currently in post-production, will raise money for The Big Issue Foundation and homeless charity Anchor House. Its executive producers are Oscar-winning Trademark Films.

The Truth about Stanley stars Oliver Litondo, the lead from the international feature film The First Grader, 12-year-old Raif Clarke and Andrew Lee Potts, lead role in ITV”s Primeval. It was shot in five days in locations in and around central London in early December 2011.

Lucy Tcherniak, who won the 2008 Smoke and Mirrors 48 Hour Film Challenge for her film I Stood Up, has directed the 20-minute film. Lucy wrote the script for The Truth About Stanley with Neil Westley, who was runner-up in the 2011 Director”s Circle Scriptwriting Selection.

The Truth About Stanley does not use shock tactics, nor is it be an explicit call to action. Instead it tells the story of an unusual friendship between a boy from the North of England and an elderly African man, who meet on the streets of London.

The narrative is non-linear – the film opens when Sam wakes one morning to find Stanley has passed away. As the story progresses we discover that perhaps their friendship was not as perfect as it first seemed. Why is the boy homeless and just what is the truth about Stanley?

A 60 second trailer for The Truth About Stanley has just been released online. You can access the trailer by visiting here – http://www.thetruthaboutstanley.com

A fundraising premiere will take place at 7pm on the 2nd April 2011 at the Rich Mix cinema in Shoreditch, London (http://www.richmix.org.uk/). Freshfields
Bruckhaus Deringer LLP whose corporate responsibility department has provided the funding for the movie will host the event.

Big Issue chief executive Stephen Robertson said: “We live in challenging times. From our perspective we know that homelessness is on the increase. This film offers a unique opportunity to lift the lid on some of the stereotypes that are all too frequently associated with extreme disadvantage.

“It is gratifying to see the arts, corporate and charity sectors uniting to bust a few myths. We are delighted to be involved in this project and for the support and awareness that it will raise.”

Anchor House director Keith Fernett said: “We need to disperse the stigma surrounding homelessness and this film could very well be a powerful tool.
People need to realise that despite who we are or where we started out in life anyone of us could be at risk of being homeless.

“We are very grateful to be part of this project and for all of the support being given to our charity.”

Lucy Tcherniak said: “My interest in homelessness grew last year after I directed a viral film about a homeless man.

“My co-writer Neil and I started discussing what happens when a homeless person dies when sleeping rough. And then the story came from there. It”s still a question very few people know how to answer.

“We started thinking about all the ways people end up homeless, and all the things these people lose along with that. No matter what a person loses – their house, their belongings, their family, even their sight – a person”s imagination is their own to keep. It”s possibly the only thing that can”t be taken away. And for Stanley that”s what gets him through.

“The aim is to tell a story in which the characters are homeless but above all they are people, no different from you or me. If the audience can relate to and empathise with these people our hope is that it might strike a deeper chord in them that changes the way they view people who are homeless.”

Neil Westley said: “As a writer, I like to think story is one of the most powerful and effective ways to get a message across or try and change opinion. We are very grateful that our partners believe in our project and us and agree that a difference can be made this way. I hope we can raise some money to help them in their work.

“Anchor House – an award-winning homeless organisation that is doing some really fantastic work – has been hugely helpful. Working with Anchor House has opened up a huge resource of information and authenticity.”

Tom Clark, producer of The Truth About Stanley, said: “I am impressed that our prestigious partners have not requested any artistic control over our film, something that is very unusual in the film business. We are very confident we can repay that trust, especially as we assembled an outstanding team of industry professionals for the production, with so many people so generously offering their services and time for free.”

“Thanks also to the generous contribution of our sponsors, Freshfields, we do not have to generate any revenue as all costs have been covered. Consequently we can give the film away for free to any and all old and new media platforms willing to show it to their audience. We just want as many people as possible to see the film and hopefully donate as a result.”

Don’t think the impossible – think BIG and give the homeless a second chance at life.

Text STANLEY2, 3 or 6 to 70300 to give £2, £3 OR £6 to The Truth About Stanley Fund. All donations will go directly to support the work of The Big Issue Foundation and Anchor House.

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