Documentary about Queen City's homeless youth to be shown at NH Film Festival

Union Leader Correspondent
October 01. 2017 9:42PM
Jasmine Inglesmith, Maggie Wallace and Nancy Phillips worked together to create “404 Not Found,” a documentary about youth homelessness in New Hampshire. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/Union Leader Correspondent)

PORTSMOUTH — A documentary focusing on youth homelessness in Manchester is one of the many films people can watch during this year’s New Hampshire Film Festival, scheduled to begin Oct. 12.

According to producers, “404 Not Found” has a double meaning for the youth homeless population in northern New England’s largest city. It is street slang for the youth center and references an internet code for a web page not found because homeless teens are difficult to track down.

Producer Nancy Phillips spoke about the documentary at a kickoff party for the film festival Tuesday evening, saying they worked very closely with Child and Family Services, who she said handles the only outreach center for this group of young people in the state.

“It started as a small project and grew a life of its own, and here we are, completely to our surprise, because we had no expectation we would be submitting this to a film festival,” Phillips said.

Director Jasmine Inglesmith and screenwriter Maggie Wallace explained that there are a variety of reasons teens end up homeless. Inglesmith said 40 percent of homeless teenagers are part of the LGBTQ+ community.

“We started researching it, and we found out there’s just so many reasons you could be homeless. You can have mental illness. Your parents could be abusing you, or someone can be abusing you at home. There could be drugs either in the family, or you’re doing drugs. There’s just so many reasons,” Inglesmith said.

“Once you’re homeless already, it’s so easy to turn to those other things, and they become larger and larger problems. It kind of spirals out of control,” Wallace said of the addictions homeless youth develop.

“404 Not Found” will be playing with “It’s Criminal,” directed by Signe Taylor, at The Music Hall on Oct. 12, starting at 5:15 p.m.

“It’s Criminal” is a documentary about the life-changing experiences of 14 Dartmouth College students and 10 female prisoners who work together to write and perform an original play about the lives of incarcerated women, according to the film’s website.

Film Festival Executive Director Nicole Gregg said that for the first time this year, attendees can download an app created by INHOUSE Digital to their iPhone or Android device, which features the schedule of events and provides venue maps.

Gregg said some of the highlights of the festival this year include its opening night feature, “The Florida Project,” directed by Sean Baker. The film centers on young children living with their parents in seedy motels off the highway.

“The Florida Project” will play at The Music Hall on Oct. 13, starting at 7:35 p.m. A red carpet gala will be held in the theatre at 6:30 p.m. before the showing.

Gregg said that as the New Hampshire Film Festival has grown over the last 17 years, now drawing about 10,000 people, partnerships with local sponsors have strengthened.

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