'Tent City' a Probing Story of Oakland's Homelessness

Cicero and daughter Siriyah are reunited momentarily in a scene from 'Tent City.' (via Tent City film)

A simple drive from one side of Oakland to the other will reveal to anyone just how serious homelessness is in the city. In a new film, Tent City, the compelling story of a search for a homeless family member covers the same geographic ground.

The film (directed by Adimu “WolfHawkJaguar” Madyun) stars Sizwe Andrews-Abakah as Cicero Jacobs, a man who has fallen into a deep depression after the unexpected death of his wife. The collapse of the family leaves Cicero's daughter Siriyah (played by Sizwe's real-life daughter, Saba Andrews-Abakah) to search for her father, who is lost in the sea of homelessness that is Oakland—tent city.

What transpires is a quest many can relate to: the pursuit of a loved one, and the effort to restore them to the person they once were.

In the process of creating a scripted film about homelessness in Oakland, the film crew created archival footage of housing encampments that are no longer standing, as people have been ushered into city-ordained encampments. The combination of heavy content based in reality and dramatic screenplay also open the gates to conversation around a topic with which many in Oakland have experience. After a screening on Friday, June 28, to ensure that conversation is held in a safe and respectful manner, journalist Davey D leads a Q&A with filmmakers and cast.

The June 28 screening of 'Tent City,' at the East Bay Church of Religious Science, doors open at 6pm, the screening starts at 7pm and is free to all. (Donations of bottled water, socks, tarps, large Ziploc bags and baby wipes accepted for distribution to the homeless.) More details here.

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