This Saturday highlight was also the overall highlight of the fest. As I’ve mentioned before, the fest is growing enough to bring in non-musical events. On Saturday morning, the Asylum (Goth) tent hosted a screening of the movie “The Phoenix:Hope is Rising.” This is a documentary by Phil Gioja and Isaac Musgrave about the issue of homelessness in Urbana, Illinois,
Every year, the city hosts the One Winter Night event, a fundraiser for a homeless drop-in shelter. Participants in One Winter Night spend a night on the street, living in a cardboard box, experiencing for 12 hours what it is like to live on the street. Gioja and Musgrave decided to document the event, as well as tell the story of the shelter, The Phoenix. In the course of the filming, changes to the city’s zoning regulations put the future of the shelter at risk.
For a low-budget movie, the quality is surprisingly high. Interviews are well-lit and have clear audio, and are integrated well into archival and news footage, as well as coverage of city council meeting. It is a compelling film that tells a compelling story. It is hopeful, annoying, and heartbreaking.
The trailer for the movie can be found here.