Grab the popcorn and join in on the conversation: A new film that’s shining a light on homelessness is set to screen in Campbell River next Thursday, Sept. 16th, and advocates are hopeful it’ll spark discussion about the ongoing crisis.

What some are calling deeply visceral, ‘Us & Them’ was filmed over a decade by Victoria filmmaker Krista Loughton and touches on the subject of transformation through human connection.

Poster supplied by: CRDCEH

The film is set to play on the big screen at the Tidemark Theatre at 7:00 pm. But for those who can’t attend in person, there’s also a virtual viewing.

“I’ve seen it,” says Campbell River Coalition to End Homelessness (CRDCEH) coordinator Stefanie Hendrickson. “It’s really touching, and it’s really close to home here. It sort of follows the journey of individuals who are experiencing homelessness and addiction.”

In the film, Krista befriends four chronically homeless people in an effort to help them heal their lives. And with homelessness amplified now more than ever, as communities grapple with the converging crises of homelessness, overdose, and COVID-19, the coalition feels the film’s release comes at a perfect time.

“I think it’s very important that people see this,” Hendrickson says. “It really puts it in a different perspective and really humanizes the experience that these people on the streets are going through. We know that homelessness is on the rise, not just in Campbell River but across the country. The data coming out is showing that.”

RELATED: More than half of Campbell River’s homeless population identify as Indigenous

She continues, “It’s really important that more and more people become informed about what is driving this and how we can come together as a community to make changes.”

In an effort to offer locals an opportunity to connect and learn about homelessness, the coalition is actually following the film with a one-hour community conversation in question and answer format, featuring a panel.

The panel is to include Krista Loughton, one of the people featured in the film, Taryn O’Flanagan (Executive Director of the Vancouver Island Mental Health Society), Leanne McIntee (coordinator for the Kwakiutl District Council Health Office’s mobile outreach program, known locally as the “Moose” – MOUHSS), as well as a local person with lived/living experience in homelessness.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, staff at the Tidemark say they’re happy to facilitate both an in-person as well as a virtual option. “They’ve done an amazing job of being able to adapt,” Hendrickson adds.

However, people choosing to attend in-person will need to meet Provincial Public Health Order guidelines regarding proof of vaccination. To book free tickets, visit tidemarktheatre.com. Movie-goers will see two options: One for attending the event in-person, one for attending the event virtually.