*NOTE FOR SIBIES CONTRIBUTORS: When contributing, just write "SIBIES" in the comment box!*
Throughout filming, our production team has bought food, given donations, clothes, sleeping bags, volunteered time at soup kitchens and bottle returns, and petitioned the area to expand the shelter by 38%. We have been filming out of pocket, with volunteer crew members, and cannot complete the film because of post productions costs.
In our film we are showcasing agencies and the services they can provide to the homeless, giving information so people will know how to offer support, donations, or volunteer time.
We are hoping this film will help inspire other communities to do the type of work we have, but no one can see our film if we can’t finish it...
Our crew of volunteers are working around the clock to help the homeless tell their story learn more about us...
This is a documentary about the homeless community in the college town of Amherst, MA. Amherst's population is predominantly full of educated residents, roughly more than 1/3 of the population has a bachelor's degree or higher, meanwhile 1/3 of the population has fallen below the poverty level.
There's a phenomenon here!
Many chronically homeless individuals live in the town of Amherst,MA more than I even knew.
And even though I grew up in Amherst, I never would have known how serious the situation is, if it wasn't for my girlfriend, Sari Gagnon.
While driving in the car Sari said to me "Every time we get off this exit there's someone panhandling here, and it's never the same person. How many homeless live in this town?" I said I didn't know, but that wasn't good enough for Sari. She's not the kind of person to just let things go.
Sari started looking things up on the internet, she wanted some answers. How many homeless are in Amherst? Why are there more in the summer? Who’s helping these people?
The numbers are staggering!
28.9% of the Amherst population has fallen below the poverty level - that's twice the National Average (15%) and THREE TIMES the State Average for Massachusetts (10.8%).
"We have to do something." Sari said. What can we do? The question didn't even sink into my brain when she said "If I was a chef I'd cook food for them. If I was a seamstress I'd make clothes for them. But we’re filmmakers, so let’s make a film to raise awareness."
Well, who could argue with that?
Sari started talking to the homeless in the streets. I was hesitant and nervous, but she wasn't, and the homeless LOVE her. She has a way of finding common ground with people, and after a while they started telling her their stories. They even invited us into their tent communities.
After a couple of weeks of filming we realized that there is so much more to this story than we ever knew. We can't stop filming yet!
The season is changing, the shelter here is making preparations for an expansion, so many homeless we've met are on a waiting list for housing.
By contributing to our film you'd be helping us DO A GREAT THING! Raise awareness to this crisis, and you'll be helping the homeless tell their story.
What You'll Help Us Do & What You'll Get
- We'll need $20,000 to continue filming our documentary for the next few weeks, and take us into editing, scoring, and submitting 'Homeless in a College Town' into film festivals.
- For your contribution you can receive any of the following gifts: a letter of thanks from the Director, arm bands, t-shirts, posters, production stills, a special thanks in the credits of the film, an invitation to the screening of the film, or a Producer Credit on IMDB.
- The funds will help us finish our film, and post-production. AND as part of a long-lasting impression on the community we are going to start a fund in town to ONLY go to helping the homeless, and the services for them in town.
The impact of your contribution is enormous because it's going towards changing the way people look at the homeless. Not just in this small community, but anyone who gets to see the film will be impacted by this story, that you will help tell.
- By contributing to this documentary you'll be helping give a voice to many homeless individuals. Giving them an opportunity to be seen and heard, reassuring them that they are not ignored by their community. People do care about them.
- It is the goal of this documentary to not only report on this unseen crisis, but to raise awareness, and take steps towards getting the homeless the services they need.
- It is our hope that this documentary can influence other communities to do the same for their homeless residents.
Other Ways You Can Help...
Times are tough, and we understand that not everyone can participate, but you can still help!
- Please help us spread the word about our cause by sharing our video on your facebook or twitter page, and encourage others.
- Please consider volunteering time at your local soup kitchen or homeless shelter.
Thank you all for your compassion.
The Counterfeit Cow Productions Team
Matt Heron Duranti