Emilio Estevez visits Minneapolis library to screen film about homelessness

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Award-winning actor Emilio Estevez created a new film with a message about homelessness and screened it at Minneapolis Central Library Sunday.

Last month, FOX 9 examined how libraries can help people experiencing homelessness.

Considering that about 560,000 people experience homelessness in the United States on any given night, the film shows what might happen if they decide to stage and occupy.

“This move celebrates the outcasts and the misfits and the unsung and it celebrates librarians,” Estevez told FOX 9 Sunday at the screening.

The movie screening was a packed house of people there to see the film called, “The Public.”

“It’s been a 12-year mission for me,” Estevez said of his involvement in the film.

The film, which features Alec Baldwin and Gabrielle Union, was inspired by an essay written by former librarian Chip Ward.

“Chip basically said libraries across the country have become de-facto homeless shelters and librarians have been first responders,” Estevez said.

So, Estevez started funding, writing and directing the film.

“I started just digging in, doing research and thinking about what the story would look like if the patrons decided not to leave on a particularly cold night. How low enforcement would react, politicians might spin it, how the media might certainly spin it and how they'd criminalize these people for simply wanting to stay alive,” he told the crowd in a question and answer segment.

The film was a social commentary well-received.

“I’m glad I wore my waterproof mascara because it was emotional, but in a good way,” said Shannon Dotson, who attended the screening.

“I enjoyed it a great deal,” said Ray Wells. “It was very good.”

The film was screened inside the city library that employs a full-time social worker to meet patrons’ needs, too.

“I think to include social workers who are skilled, who have the tools to deal with people experiencing mental health issues, I think that’s the best course of action, frankly,” Estevez said.

The film intends to highlight a growing need and bookmarks an important chapter.

“To finally put it out into the world and to have people react to it, it’s just magical,” Estevez said.

“The Public” is in theaters April 5.