This Wednesday night, St. Andrews Church hosts a screening of the highly decorated documentary Our House. Telling the story of a communal living space in Brooklyn, the documentary has been screened across the country, picking up awards from several film festivals including the Garden State, Derby City, Thin Line, and Duke City film festivals. On the heels of the documentary’s May DVD release, the screening tour will find itself in Charleston this week.
Our House shows the day-to-day activities of an experimental commune in a Brooklyn warehouse squat. The commune, run by three young Christian activists, provided a place to live for a handful of homeless men and women. But the home’s true value came in the supportive community it was able to foster for its inhabitants.
Co-producer Greg King has been traveling the U.S. screening and promoting the movie. The sole proprietor of Rotating Films Production Company, King first found out about the Our House commune from a neighbor. “A friend looking to start her own intentional community told me about the house,” remembers King. Intrigued, the two visited the house late one March. “The only light in the whole space came from candles in a tent they had set up.” It was this tent, a make shift center for prayer and house meetings, that really inspired King. “There were 10 or 12 people gathered in the tent having a prayer meeting, and I was immediately mesmerized. I knew right then that it had to be documented.”
King found himself deeply inspired by their expression of faith and their devotion to community. “They made a point of hearing everyone’s voice. It was very communal and egalitarian.” King felt this sense of community was a great example for society at large. The documentary seeks to inspire people to be more active in and around their communities. “It is a challenge to Christians and everyone living in urban centers to evaluate what it really means to love your neighbor.”
Response to Our House has shown people are stepping up to this challenge. “We have heard from a lot of people that were inspired by the film to help others in a similar way. It’s kind of ideal for me. I don’t expect the film to turn over the shelter system. But I hope it starts a dialogue about homelessness and inspires people to be active and helpful in their community.”
St. Andrews wanted to bring Our House, and its challenge, to the Lowcountry community. “St. Andrews has done screenings in the past and learned about the release of the DVD and wanted to bring us down for a screening.” Although Christianity plays an important role in the narrative of Our House, the documentary is focused on community, not just religion. Augmenting this feeling of community, the screening will be open to the public. “I am a believer, but my partner (co-producer David Teague) is not. As a Christian, I’m interested to see who is interested in the film and the issues, but I don’t want it to be just a Christian conversation. I want all kinds of folks to be there.”
The community screening will take place at 7 p.m. at the St. Andrews Church in Mt. Pleasant.