DANCES WITH FILMS 2021 REVIEW! As a life-long Angelino, I have always noticed that homelessness has been a problem on the streets of downtown Los Angeles. So it’s news to no one that the situation today is the worst it’s ever been. Van Maximilian Carlson’s Skid Row, Los Angeles, looks at the problem from the ground level.
The documentary short begins with the story of Iraq War Veteran Gerard Hall. He became homeless soon after catching his fiancé with another man. After a long stint on the street, he decided to be part of the solution and become an advocate. To every person on the street, he has three questions, “Are you hungry? Are you OK? How can I help?”
Then there is the Skid Row Music Choir, who have found that in music, there is healing. Its members sing gospel and, as a small group working together, found community and connection to help one another battle their addictions.
“…decided to be part of the solution and become an advocate.”
Skid Row, Los Angeles focuses on the tiny sparks of hope in a very desperate situation. As thousands live homeless on the streets waiting for L.A.’s mayor and city council to do something, it becomes clear that they ain’t doing s**t. Instead, we hear stories of the police sitting on their hands, leaving the homeless to fend for themselves.
Skid Row, Los Angeles presents the current state of the problem. The hot button issue in the documentary centers on an election whether to re-establish the Skid Row Neighborhood Council or leave it in the hands of the city council. No surprise how this vote turns out. Homelessness is a complex issue, and Carlson’s film points out that the problem is more political than one might’ve realized. It’s real people living on the street, and it is up to average caring individuals to be part of the solution.
Skid Row, Los Angeles screened at the 2021 Dances With Films.
"…are you hungry? Are you OK? How can I help?"