Chicago writer-director Lucia Mauro has completed post-production on I Have a Name, a one-hour documentary co-produced by Jacqueline C. Hayes – founder & president emerita of the non-profit film organization, The Chicago HELP Initiative (CHI)
The film gives voice to individuals experiencing homelessness and presents CHI’s all-encompassing programs that nourish the whole person.
I Have a Name puts a face on homelessness through the sensitive work of CHI and its partners, who empower those in need through access to meals, health services, shelter, adult education, job training and the arts. Those who have experienced job loss, homelessness and other challenges tell their compelling stories. The documentary also takes a wider look at the many factors contributing to homelessness for individuals from all walks of life. And it addresses how CHI is adapting to a world changed by Covid-19.
In Spring 2019 during a screening of Mauro’s documentary, Frances Xavier Cabrini: The People’s Saint, she met Jacqueline C. Hayes who proposed they collaborate on a documentary. By Fall 2019, I Have a Namewas in production in Chicago, with an Epilogue on Covid-19 shot in June 2020.
“I witnessed first hand how Jacqueline Hayes and her partners assist those experiencing homelessness with extensive initiatives,” says Mauro. “But I was most struck by the dynamic communal environment of their meal program and how each guest is treated with dignity and humanity.”
This film puts the CHI guests front and center and thoughtfully presents their personal journeys, together with how they, the volunteers, CHI partnering organizations and other groups – such as Chicago Street Medicine and Harmony, Hope & Healing – lift each other up. CHI truly nourishes the whole person. I Have a Name is a testament to how compassion and commitment can lead to unity, acceptance and self-empowerment.
In addition to the film festival circuit, the producers plan to present I Have a Name to law schools, police departments and at social justice conferences. During Covid-19, they will focus on virtual showings.