'Moses' Documentary Changes Lead Character and Filmmakers’ Lives

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Editor's Note: Behind the Lens is a digital video series featuring bold California indie filmmakers pushing the boundaries of their craft. Each episode captures the personal experiences that inform a filmmaker's work and the risks they take to bring stories to the screen.

Alvin Carbins, otherwise known as "Moses," an artist who spent nearly two decades struggling with addiction and homelessness on the streets of San Francisco, is also a movie star.

He’s the subject of Moses, a feature-length documentary made by director Fran Guijarro and producer Diya Guha over the course of 10 years. They both met Carbins in his “office,” the corner of New Montgomery and Jessie streets, and what started as a short student film turned into a long-term project that transformed all of their lives.

Today, Carbins is the house manager of a clean and sober living facility; Moses documents his struggle to overcome addiction and reclaim his life. Guijarro and Guha’s support of that journey closes the distance between documentary filmmaker and subject, and serves as a testament to the transformative power of storytelling. As immigrants trying to forge connections in their adopted home of San Francisco, Guijarro and Guha now relate to Carbins as family. They celebrate holidays and even take a trip together every year.

Moses premieres in 2018; Guijarro and Guha continue to tell the stories of people experiencing homelessness with their project Stories Behind the Fog. - Sarah Hotchkiss


This is the first installation of Behind the Lens, a series of web videos featuring independent Bay Area filmmakers and their work.