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The Invisible Class

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The Invisible Class: The Story of Homelessness In America
[[File:]|1000X1500|alt=Invisible Class film poster. Has an image of a homeless person inside of an underground tunnel in Las Vegas, and the film's title and credits.|border|upright=1|Invisible Class film poster. Has an image of a homeless person inside of an underground tunnel in Las Vegas, and the film's title and credits.]]
Directed byJoshua Hayes
Produced bySharon Mann
Music byGerardo Montoya
CinematographyJosh Hayes
Edited byJosh Hayes
Animation byMarco Ramirez, David A. Talbott
Production
company
Visual Anarchy, RCV Films
Release date
January 1st, 2020
Running time
90 Minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$35,000

Amazon.com Logo.png Search The Invisible Class on Amazon.The Invisible Class is an American documentary film about homelessness in The United States. The film is shot and directed by Josh Hayes and is currently being released by the nonprofit Visual Anarchy and RCV Films. It was filmed over an 11 year journey across The United States. The Invisible Class explores what it means to be homeless in the US, challenging stereotypes & examining the systemic causes of mass homelessness in the wealthiest nation in the world. From coast to coast the film is a day in the life of homelessness across the US.

Previously American documentary films on homelessness tend to focus on small subsections of the homeless population and not systemic affordable housing issues. The Invisible Class does both, and makes the point that mass homelessness hasn't always existed in America.

The film is being independently released and is being screening through a Poverty Education Campaign. The team behind The Invisible Class has partnered with over 30 homeless service providers for Community Screenings and treat each screening as a social justice action. Individual screenings generate food, clothing, and hygiene kit donations for each homeless service provider. As well as sometimes volunteer signups and financial donations.

Concept[edit]

Though the film has been shot over the course of eight years, from one coast to the next, it uses a temporal convention to organize the footage as a single day. From 6:00 am on one unremarkable day to 6:00 am the next, we experience the multi-faceted reality of the homeless, the volunteers working in direct outreach to them, and the advocacy organizations lobbying on their behalf. Mass homelessness is relatively new in America. Outside the Great Depression, mass homelessness was unknown to the United States. Before the late 1970s, the term “homeless” was rarely used to describe a class of people, and had an entirely different connotation than it does today. Beginning in the late 1970s, gathering momentum into the early 1980s, Public Housing was systematically attacked and mass homelessness rapidly expanded over the course of half a decade. And we've never recovered. “Homelessness” is now a household word, and the American homeless population is over 3.5 million by a variety of estimates. Though largely focused on the present time, the film aims to provide historical context via an housing history segment that graphically illustrates the last 80 years of housing history, from the Great Depression to now. Interviews with experts bring to life compelling statistics and thoughtful reflections on the often inconvenient truths about American homelessness.

Plot[edit]

The Invisible Class confronts the often inaccurate stereotypes of homelessness in America. When one takes a clear and honest look at homelessness in America, the reality is radically different from common public assumptions. Our film aims to make the invisible visible – to educate, to surprise, and hopefully to move our viewers to a deeper understanding of contemporary homelessness. You have mental images of those most immediately recognizable as homeless: digging through garbage to find food, visibly mental ill, or panhandling by the freeway onramp. They are statistically categorized as the "Chronic Homeless," representing less than 20 percent of the overall homeless population. Who makes up the other 80 percent? What are their stories? What has led them as individuals, and us as a society, to this point? The structure of The Invisible Class is a “Day in the Life” of the American homeless. "It is not a movie you want to watch. It is a movie that you have to see"[1]

Director Josh Hayes interviews Dennis, a homeless Vietnam Veteran in Boston, Massachusetts.

Impact Distribution[edit]

The Invisible Class is following an Impact Distribution model. Impact distribution is the idea of taking a film beyond just being viewed, prompting action being taken by viewers after. The goal being to use film to inspire people to volunteer, educate others, help people/organizations in need, etc. The Invisible Class has partnered with over 30 homeless service providers for Community Screenings to directly benefit them. Individual screenings generate food, clothing, and hygiene kit donations for each homeless service provider. As well as sometimes volunteer signups and financial donations. The Invisible Class will partner with any and all organizations that help the homeless population regardless of religious faith, political views, regional location, size, legal status, etc.

For socially conscious businesses there is also an Employee Training program. This includes private screenings of the film for a business, a Q&A with the Director about homelessness and affordable housing, and additional educational materials.

About the film Senator Carol Liu has said "The Invisible Class will open important doors to a dialogue about the implications of criminalizing homelessness, while shedding light on the cost savings of providing services and supports rather than citing and jailing the homeless. By giving voice to the stories of those who are most affected by this crisis, the film has power to spark a renewed, national awareness of a problem that is often portrayed as unsolvable, but in reality, can be tackled with meaningful, collaborative partnerships and creative and strategic approaches."[2]

Reception & Community Screening Programs[edit]

A few of the organizations The Invisible Class has partnered with for community screenings so far are: National Alliance Of HUD Tenants, Lutheran Social Services, City of Newark Homeless Coalition, Sonoma State University, Goodwill, Abode Services, McHenry County Planning and Development, Miracle Messages, San Francisco Friends School, Downtown Streets, Safe Harbour, Joint Youth Ministry, Family Crisis Council Rowan, Humility Homes, Aurora University, Boise/Ada County Homeless Coalition, Blanket Tampa Bay, and Louvis Services.

Quote from a San Francisco Chronicle: “I’ve seen a lot of documentaries over the years, and have never run across anyone who worked harder to really, really understand, empathize and educate on this issue in a product like what Josh has created,” Boden said. “A lot of people look at homelessness in films and say, ‘Oh, it’s about this person or that person.’ He took a broader view, had a real systemic image and said, ‘Something is wrong in this country.’ ” Paul Boden[3]

External Links & Sources[edit]

Food, Clothing & Hygiene Kit donations from a screening with Invisible Class & Safe Harbour in Pennsylvania.

Official Film Website

Nonprofit Production Company & Distributor Visual Anarchy

The Invisible Class on IMDB

San Francisco Chronicle Article on The Invisible Class

Rogue Stories: Filmmaker Gone Rogue - Meet Josh Hayes

References[edit]

  1. Schick, Will (October 16, 2019). "REVIEW: Josh Hayes's "The Invisible Class" is a film meant to inform, not entertain". Street Sense Magazine. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  2. Liu, Carol (December 12, 2017). "Letter of Recommendation". The Invisible Class. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  3. Fagan, Kevin (October 23rd, 2019). "SF Filmmaker Josh Hayes spent 11 years filming homelessness. Now you can watch the doc". San Francisco Chronicle. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help); Check date values in: |date= (help)
  1. Schick, Will (October 16, 2019). "REVIEW: Josh Hayes's "The Invisible Class" is a film meant to inform, not entertain". Street Sense Magazine.
  2. Liu, Carol (December 12, 2017). "Letter of Recommendation". The Invisible Class.
  3. Fagan, Kevin (October 23rd, 2019). "SF Filmmaker Josh Hayes spent 11 years filming homelessness. Now you can watch the doc". San Francisco Chronicle.


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