MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - The premiere of a new documentary shows how the tent city homeless problem became a struggle in Minneapolis.
“The Wall: The Stories of the 2018 Minneapolis Homeless Camp” played to a sold out crowd at the MSP Film Society’s St. Anthony Main Theater.
The mood was somber and there were a lot of emotions during the screening, including one of the main people the filmmaker followed, who said it was difficult to watch himself.
As people took their seats to watch the premiere of the film, the audience was quickly captivated by the dark realities of addiction and despair.
“This isn’t a Disney film,” said Filmmaker Brandon Ferdig. “This is the reality of addiction.”
Ferdig had initially set out to profile the growing homeless epidemic in the Pacific Northwest, but the Minnesota native realized the problem was in his own backyard.
He was there with his camera from the beginning of tent city, or as folks living there called it, The Wall. He followed around several people, including a couple named Earl and Kat who have six children they are not in regular contact with because of their addiction issues.
“What I did see was depressing,” said Earl Monchamp, who was featured in the film. “I saw me in different stages. It was depressing for me.”
Monchamp showed up at the theater toward the end of the screening, overcome with emotions. It was clearly difficult for him to watch his struggles.
He and Kat are currently receiving treatment and have been clean for the last few weeks, but he is concerned about what his next step is when the Navigation Center closes at the end of the month.
“I was one of the first ones there and one of the last ones to leave to go to the Navigation Center and now it’s happening again where I’m one of the last ones to leave there and I’ve seen a lot of stuff go on that shouldn’t have gone on,” he said .
Representatives from groups like Natives Against Heroin fear history is about to repeat itself as soon as the Navigation Center closes. With rampant drug use and people still in need of housing, organizers warn we might see another tent city again.