The Homestretch heads to Sundance

Kirsten Kelly and Anne de Mare, producers of The Homestretch, are in Park City this week, attending the 2013 Sundance Film Festival as Sundance Documentary Fellows.

One of just twelve work-in-progress docs featured in the program, they'll be pitching the film to a variety of industry figures in the hope of raising additional funds to keep the edit going this Spring. The film, a co-production with Spargel productions, explores urban homelessness amongst adolescents enrolled in the Chicago Public Schools, and is being cut by Kartemquin's Leslie Simmer (As Goes Janesville).

Early funding for the film has come from the Sundance Institute, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Pierce Family Foundation.

Also taking the direct-to-fan route, The Homestretch just launched a grass-roots fundraising and community-building effort, "The Home Dinner Project", with its first Home Dinner in Ft. Lee, NJ. Thanks to all who attended and donated to support the film. The "The Home Dinner Project" is a mission to have an initial 20 Home Dinners across the nation this winter to celebrate Home and build awareness for youth homelessness and the film. The idea is that participation costs as much as a dinner out, and yet builds real community among those who attend, and a vast support network of people who can make a direct difference on homelessness. If you think you might be interested in hosting a Home Dinner of your own at which you can share a preview of The Homestretch with your friends, please contact the filmmakers for a Home Dinner Toolkit: homestretch@kartemquin.com.

The number of registered homeless youth in the Chicago Public Schools is expected to hit a record 19,000 this year. The filmmakers are hoping for an early 2014 release to bring much needed awareness and build positive support for these kids. You can follow their progress and get involved on Facebook and Twitter.