I recently got the chance to speak with Director Ron Krauss about his new film “Gimme Shelter” and the Inspiration for the film Kathy DiFiore, who is the Founder of Several Sources Shelters. The movie focuses on a teenager named Apple who runs away from her abusive home. Upon realizing she has become pregnant, she is forced to decide what she wants for her future. Stay in a broken home? or throw yourself out into the unknown? This is a very different role for Vanessa Hudgens, going to great lengths in this film to shed her former Disney image. I’d say she succeeded. Ron recounts; “some of the viewing press have had trouble identifying who Vanessa was in the film!” And I’d have to agree. For a moment there, It took a while to click in that this abused girl on the big screen was Hudgens herself. The character is miserable! everything has gone wrong, she cant improve her situation and Just when she thinks nobody can help her, life throws her a second chance. Its a storyline which Ron Felt Passionate about telling, and one which Kathy experienced first hand growing up. As she says “I went through an abusive relationship, and I’d had enough! I just walked out. I only had the clothes on my back, and consequently I became homeless. I lost my dignity, and I had to speak to people I’d never have spoken to.” However, Kathy ended up changed for the better, she has gone on to help countless people who are in need of a shelter.
The story of Apple resonates with me because it weaves together bits and pieces of the social construct which I see everyday walking down the street. I live in a part of the US where Homeless youth are everywhere. You’ll see them asking for change on every corner, sleeping at the park or hanging around selling drugs. They have many stories but they represent just a small fraction of a larger demographic which spans all across America. Much like Apple or Kathy, many kids and young adults are victims of bad circumstances. We have to understand the underlying issues of homelessness if we are to try and address the issue. Truth is, of most of the adults I know are only a couple of pay checks away from being homeless themselves. So why be ignorant to the cause? The first step towards finding a solution is to generate awareness. This film does a good job at introducing the subject while remaining entertaining. The hope is that this film can give a behind the scenes look into the life of a person who has found themselves on the outskirts of society, and as Ron says, “hopefully the audience will then gain compassion and we can begin to work towards a solution. The film comes out Jan 24th! Make sure you check it out!