Cheryl Leontina, Stories Under the Bridges
"Stories Under the Bridges is a Short Film Documentary that combines the stories collected from Portland’s houseless residents who are sleeping rough, staying in warming shelters, or living in transitional tiny house villages.
The goal of this project is to provide a non-threatening venue for sharing stories.
Where are they coming from?
What is their strength helping them survive?
What are their hopes for their future?
Viewing the film provides the general public with an opportunity to see beyond the surface and the stereotypes to gain a greater understanding and sensitivity to the individuals most affected by our housing crisis.
It’s from this place of greater understanding that we will bridge the divide and begin working together to solve this complex issue.
Cheryl Leontina is a Master’s of Architecture candidate at Portland State University who is completing her certification with PSUs Center for Public Interest Design. She is also a volunteer with Portland’s Village Coalition: a group comprised of houseless or previously houseless individuals.
Leontina was recently awarded the Andries Deinum Prize for Visionaries and Provocateurs 2018-2019 to support her project “Stories Under the Bridges.” Through the summer and fall months she rode a flamboyant penny farthing bike, turned trike—complete with operable wings—along the east and west bank esplanades inviting people along the waterfront and under the bridges to share their stories.
She is now combining the Deinum project with the Village Coalition grant “Voices from the Villages” that was awarded from Portland’s Regional Arts & Community Council.
To ensure a quality product, Leontina partnered with Nili Yosha of “Outside the Frame” and crew to collect stories and create a short documentary. Leontina also had photo/filming assistance along the esplanades from experienced Sundance film videographer Rahn Kennebrew. And through the entire process Jaison Kirk, poet and storyteller with KBOO radio, provided assistance, advice, and invaluable street smarts to the story collection process.
Leontina believes in the power of art to change public perceptions of homeless communities and to transform Portland’s cultural and intellectual landscape through the innovative use of art with film.
Fire Pit by Andy Lacy, Forgewerks.com