Homelessness in the Twin Cities

Anna Schmiel’s documentary on homelessness advocates for equal rights and equal opportunity.

“Sometimes being uncomfortable is necessary,” says Anna Schmiel, whose documentary Others about homelessness in the Twin Cities is intended to do more than entertain audiences. A 2013 graduate of Edina High School, Schmiel began learning about poverty in Minnesota at a young age. Her mother, Erica Schmiel, founded a program called Reading Buddies through the Normandale Housing Corporation, which paired teenagers from Edina to work with previously homeless children from the Philips neighborhood of South Minneapolis.“I want to capture the faces of homelessness,” says Schmiel. “Because these children were of a low socio-economic status, they were stereotyped and discriminated against.” Schmiel made her film for a May term assignment, where EHS seniors had the opportunity to create a meaningful project to share with the community. Others  features lobbyists, program managers and individuals who are or have been homeless, all discussing the problem of homelessness in the Twin Cities. “I want to dispel the notion that people who are low-income are lazy and rely on government welfare,” says Schmiel. “I want to show people that by laying the blame on those with little power, they are merely increasing social satisfaction in our country. Ours should be the land of equal rights and opportunity. My message is understanding.”   Schmiel’s film will screen at Edina Cinema this summer and will also be used by various aid agencies in south Minneapolis. Next fall she will attend Carleton College, majoring in international relations and Arabic, and hopes to continue using film to push for social change.