The Road Up, the inspiring documentary feature from Siskel/Jacobs Productions (No Small Matter, Louder Than a Bomb) will open October 8 at Gene Siskel Film Center.
The Road Up returns to Chicago following a successful film festival run, including the world premiere at the Chicago International Film Festival where it won the Audience Award for Best Documentary.
The Road Up follows four participants in Cara, a Chicago job-training program, as they struggle to find the path from rock bottom to stable employment. Throughout, they are guided, goaded, and challenged by their impassioned mentor, Mr. Jesse (Jesse Teverbaugh), whose own complicated past compels him to help others find hope in the face of poverty, addiction, homelessness, and trauma.
Taken together, their stories create a powerful mosaic of the struggles that millions of Americans face every day in a precarious and unforgiving economy—the daunting and often interconnected challenges that prevent so many from joining the economic mainstream. Because when everything behind you is wreckage, and everything in front is an obstacle, how do you find the road up?
INTERVIEW WITH: Jesse Teverbaugh, Cara Director of Student and Alumni Affairs
How do you describe Cara?
Cara helps men and women affected by poverty (and often the interrelated challenges of recovery, domestic violence, episodic homelessness and incarceration) to get and keep good jobs, and more importantly rebuild hope, self-esteem, and opportunity for themselves and their families in the process. We not only address financial poverty but relational poverty. It is a comprehensive human boot camp. A physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual boot camp.
How do you explain what you do at Cara?
I would describe myself as a traffic cop. I find out where a person wants to go and I point them in the direction on how to get there. Just like a mechanic would not let their customer get on the highway with a faulty tire or mechanical malfunction, I do the same for the participant. I give them a tune-up that will prepare them for the journey they’re about to embark on. I help them identify what is malfunctioning and then I give them the tools to self-correct. I give them the key to their lock to hang around their necks so they will always have it when they need it.
Why is Transformations such an important part of the Cara process?
Because we realize that there is much more to a human being and the human struggle than one’s financial being. We don’t believe that just getting someone a job is going to put them on the path to success all by itself. There are other factors that must be addressed if one is going to truly transform. It does not automatically last and must be nurtured and practiced every day.
What was your reaction to seeing the film the first time?
One of the more humbling experiences of my life. It allowed me to be the participant as well as seeing myself through the lens of a participant. It added another layer of validation to the work that we do at Cara.
What do you want audiences to take away from the film, about Cara and/or the people it serves?
There but for the grace of GOD go you. If you don’t see yourself somewhere in this documentary then you are living in a fantasy world and are part of the problem. These are our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles…Hurt is hurt and pain is pain and we are all human beings that sometime in our lives are going to need help and support. Everybody needs a Cara!!!
Cara // www.carachicago.org
Transformations January 2016
Angela Head / Cecilia Robinson / Joe Mutuc
Patricia Banks / Joe O’Neil / Melanie Hoebbel
Sister Therese O’Sullivan / Adam Thomas / Nora Vail
Marlin Exton / Rose Cadette / Vauna Hernandez
Director of Photography
John Mathie Daniel Rodriguez
Nolo Digital Film, Inc.
Post-Production Audio Facility
Executive Producer for Another Country
Producer for Another Country