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Festival shines light on homelessness in Ireland

The classic Irish dark comedy Adam & Paul will be shown at the IFI on Saturday as part of an international festival raising awareness about homelessness.

A still from Adam & Paul
A still from Adam & Paul
Image: Youtube

THE POSITIVE WORK done to raise awareness of homelessness through film is celebrated in a festival that will visit Dublin this weekend.

The Homeless Film Festival is brought to the capital by Stepping Stone, a Dublin-based housing charity, and the Irish Film Institute.

This is a UK and Ireland intitiative that will stop off in Dublin on Saturday 21 April, with a screening of the bittersweet comedy Adam & Paul at 2.30pm at the IFI. It will be followed by a Q&A with director Lenny Abrahamson.

The Homeless Film Festival is a touring festival, and its aim is to screen some of the world’s best homeless-related films. As part of the festival,  feature films are screened, Q&As take place featuring special guests, and independent cinemas are on hand to showcase the works.

Adam & Paul won Best Director at the 2004 Irish Film & Television Awards and is a dark fairytale about two homeless young men and their life struggles.

The festival will also visit Belfast, Derby, Manchester, London, Newcastle and Nottingham.


(emmet001/Youtube)

Ireland is participating in the festival thanks to Stepping Stone, a registered charity that works with homeless people to bring them out of the cycle of homelessness.  After reading about the festival on Twitter, Stepping Stone brought the IFI on board to screen the film. “We got great support from the IFI,” said Patricia McKeever.

“Usually we are mainly accommodation and support based,” she explained. “We are about the holistic, the whole person and culture is a major part of that. To have this come and have us be part of it is immense.”

McKeever said the festival shows there is more to homelessness than not having a home, while Adam & Paul shows what homelessness can be like for those with drug addictions. “It is very realistic of the situation that we have now,” she said. “How people are staying in emergency accommodation and not moving on.”

Stepping Stone, said McKeever, helps to “bring people out of the homeless circle they are in, and move them on”. She explained that Stepping Stone does a lot of work within the community, helping people to connect with their neighbours.

“Stepping Stone currently works with 15 people housed in our community-based housing,” said McKeever. These people are either on one-year or 2 year leases and the charity “work[s] hard with them with anything they’re going through, such as mental illness, addiction, literacy”. “We help with reestablishing links with family as well,” said McKeever, adding that they help people to discover their own sense of identity now that they are in a new home.

They also provide support through weekly visits at home or in the community, while their ‘befrienders’ are there as practical informal support in situations such as night classes.

Stepping Stone would love for the festival to come back to Ireland next year. In the meantime, the charity is hoping to find a permanent home for Open Cinema, which is a cinema that shows films to homeless people in Dublin.

Read: Homeless children should be accommodated outside Dublin city centre says Ombudsman>

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