Arts / Faith and Humanities

Family Homelessness

Written by Catherine Hinrichsen, Center for Strategic Communications, College of Arts and Sciences

September 10, 2013

students working on a film project

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The Center for Strategic Communications launches a new film project.

Seattle University's Center for Strategic Communications (CSC) has received a fourth major grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to continue and evolve the center's work on family homelessness. The new $250,000 grant will support a new fellowship program that will invite filmmakers to explore and illuminate stories of the thousands of Washington families who are homeless or living in poverty.

Through the new Film & Family Homelessness Project, local filmmakers will be invited to submit proposals describing how they would tell these stories through film. The four filmmakers accepted to the program will attend three full-day workshops at Seattle University led by film industry mentors and family homelessness experts. Each Film Fellow will then create a short film in winter 2014. The goal is to screen the films during the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) as part of a collaboration between Seattle University and SIFF. 

Each Fellow will receive a grant of $8,000 plus the services of a film crew and use of related equipment during winter 2014 to complete the film. Seattle University students will be selected to assist the filmmakers.

The Call for Proposals will be issued Sept. 3, 2013 and proposals must be submitted by Oct. 11, 2013. More information on the proposals is available from Lindy Boustedt, project manager,

Boustedt (pictured above), who previously worked in University Advancement, is well known within the Seattle independent film community as a writer/director/producer with First Sight Productions, which she runs with her husband, Kris. She is also a longtime Seattle University employee.

The program comes out of a successful communication and advocacy program that originated in 2010 with the Journalism Fellowships on Family Homelessness, which have resulted in extensive news coverage of family homelessness. Through the fellowships, made possible also by a grant from the Gates Foundation, journalists from  the Seattle Times, PBS Newshour and other news organizations  developed in-depth reporting projects that explored the causes and effects of family homelessness and profiled innovative strategies to reduce and prevent it.  Most recently, as part of the journalism fellowship program, the Tacoma, Wash.-based South Sound Magazine published an extensive series on family homelessness in Pierce County in its August-September 2013 issue.

Since the creation of the fellowships, the Center for Strategic Communications has continued its family homelessness work, through public forums, arts performances and community partnerships. The most recent example is the screening of the Academy Award-winning film "Inocente" Sept. 27 at the Seattle Art Museum, featuring an appearance by the teenage artist herself, who will also conduct an arts workshop for homeless youth and young adults during her visit.

The new Film & Family Homelessness Project joins the Project on Family Homelessness in Arts & Sciences, and the Faith & Family Homelessness Project in the School of Theology & Ministry, as one of three separate family homelessness projects at Seattle University. All three have different audiences and different approaches, but the same goal:  engaging the public to end family homelessness in Washington state.

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