AUSTIN, Texas — A documentary premiering at the South by Southwest Film Festival is set here in Austin.
- Documentary about Community First! premiers at SXSW
- Focuses on Homelessness and building community
- Will have three screenings
Community First, A Home for the Homeless, focuses on The Community First! Village, a project that houses Austin's homeless in tiny houses and RVs.
Monday was the first time filmmaker Layton Blaylock has been back to Community First! in a year. He was greeted by residents who came to know him personally during his visits. Blaylock spent a year visiting Community First! working on the documentary, trying to tell the story through the eyes of the village's residents.
"The whole purpose of this film was to show other cities and communities this sort of unique approach to try and mitigate homelessness," he said.
Blaylock first met Alan Graham, the vision and CEO behind Community First! more than a decade ago, but it wasn't until 2017, that Blaylock began this project.
"A lot of people have approached us about doing a documentary, and they all wanted us to go and raise the money," said Graham. "Layton came in and he knew that was not how this was going to work because of his great experience."
The film focuses on how the nearly 30-acre village has helped homeless through a sense of community.
"This subject is something that is very near and dear to my heart,” Blaylock said. “One of the things that is so striking about interviewing people that have been homeless is how amazing and remarkable their stories are and how resilient these people are."
Since filming and editing the documentary, Community First! has broken ground on its second phase, bringing the total of number of people served to 500.
After two years of putting the story together, Blaylock is excited to see the response and make an impact beyond Austin.
"There's a lot of myths toward homeless people and one of the things I try to do is dispel those myths," he said.
This is Blaylock's first time showing a film at SXSW and it will be playing on the following dates:
Rollins Theatre at The Long Center - March 9 10:45 a.m. to 11:49 a.m.
AFS Cinema - March 11 9 p.m. to 10:04-p.m.
Zach Theatre - March 16 12:30 p.m. to 1:34 p.m.