Of all the horror films she has produced ever since, this award-winning filmmaker, Ozlem Altingoz’s latest documentary Los Angeles City of Dreams and Fallen Angels, is by far more terrifying than any paranormal activity, after all, it is reality.
Ozlem is a US filmmaker who was born and raised in Mersin, Turkey. In the past three years, she has made seven mind-blowing short films with herself as the writer, director, and producer. Her 2017 short horror film entitled Daughter of the Lake has garnered over forty awards, including Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Short Film, and Best Woman Filmmaker.
Her 2018 short horror film, Birth, was shown at the 2018 Festival de Cannes Short Film Corner and won over 40 awards at prestigious film festivals, including Best Horror Short, Best Original Story, Best Producer, and Best Director.
This year, Ozlem takes off from creating award-winning horror films to sending an eye-opening message through her latest documentary about the struggles of the homeless people in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles. As a filmmaker, she knows exactly what the power of video can do, and right now, she uses that power to send an urgent message about homelessness.
Even in one of the wealthiest cities across the world, and amid a global pandemic, more than half a million people – including 100,000 children – do not have a place to call home.
Before the pandemic, homelessness is already one of the country’s most urgent but solvable crises, yet for too long, the entire country has failed to act. Decades of deliberate inaction have led to the country’s most vulnerable people sleeping on sidewalks or in congregate shelters that are now at a heightened risk of contracting, spreading, and dying from the coronavirus.
For the past few years, initiatives have already taken place to provide opportunities to recover from homelessness. For 13 years, Vanderpump Rules philanthropist Lisa Vanderpump talks about giving back to the community through her restaurant, Villa Blanca. Lisa brings in her staff early, and then they create nourishing, nutritious dishes that are easy to eat and deliver them to homeless shelters and churches. For Lisa, she doesn’t understand why not a lot of restaurants do it.
The film also focuses on My Friend’s Place, a center assisting and inspiring homeless youth to build self-sufficient lives. Heather Carmichael of My Friend’s Place believes that every person that they can stabilize, support, and move one step towards greater stability housing having a community is worth it. They assisted the homeless youth in housing, employment, and they also helped them get clothes to wear and food to survive the day.
Furthermore, Kirkpatrick Tyler, MPA, Director for Skid Row Strategy at the Mayor’s Office of Homelessness Initiatives, explains that homelessness in Los Angeles is the impact of some places where a specific type of person is not accepted due to many factors. He believes that employment leads to permanent housing and has since been advocating housing that is accessible to everyone.
Lisa Vanderpump, Heather Carmichael, and Kirkpatrick Tyler are only three of the many advocates who fight against homelessness, but there is more that needs to be done. Now more than ever, it is time to take part in helping end homelessness. As Ozlem asks, what else do these survivors of the society want other than compassion, meals to fill their empty stomachs and work to stand strong in the world of opportunities?