The Homestretch

The Homestretch

  • BY Anne de Mare and Kirsten Kelly | IN Youth & Family
    Premiered April 13, 2015

About the Film

The Homestretch follows three homeless teens as they fight to stay in school, graduate, and create a new life. Each of these smart, ambitious youths — Roque, Kasey, and Anthony — will surprise, inspire, and challenge audiences to rethink stereotypes of homelessness as they work to complete their educations while facing the trauma of being alone and abandoned at an early age. While told through a personal perspective, their stories connect with larger issues of poverty, race, juvenile justice, immigration, foster care, and LGBTQ rights. MORE

With unprecedented access into Chicago public schools, The Night Ministry “Crib” emergency youth shelter, and Teen Living Programs’ Belfort House, The Homestretchfollows these kids as they move through the milestones of high school while navigating a landscape of couch hopping, emergency shelters, transitional homes, street families, and a school system on the front lines of the homelessness crisis.

The Homestretch examines the struggles these young people face in obtaining a high school level education, and then follows them beyond graduation to focus on the crucial transition when the structure of school vanishes, and homeless youth often struggle to find the support and community they need to survive and be independent. A powerful, original perspective on what it means to be young and homeless in America today while striving to build a future.

The Homestretch is part of American Graduate: Let's Make it Happen, a public media initiative supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to help local communities across America address the dropout crisis.


The Filmmakers

Anne de Mare, Director/Producer

Headshot of The Homestretch director Anne de Mare.Anne de Mare is an award-winning playwright, director, professional video artist, and filmmaker. She completed her first documentary feature,Asparagus! Stalking the American Life, which broadcast regionally on PBS in 2009, in collaboration with Kirsten Kelly, her partner at Spargel Productions. Anne’s original plays have been presented in Chicago, London, and New York, where she was a five-year resident artist with Richard Foreman’s legendary Ontological-Hysteric Theater. She is a founding member of The Independent Theater Company, The Nevermore Theater Project, and Theaters Against War. Her video work has been seen on stage at Lincoln Center and at The Park Avenue Armory, and she is currently working with Innovative Music Programs to develop the film component of Accidental Heroes, a multi-media performance work based on the lives of eastern and western European artists coming of age during the Cold War.

Kristin Kelly, Director/Producer

Headshot of The Homestretch director Kristin Kelly.Kirsten Kelly is an award-winning documentary film and theater director who lives in Brooklyn, New York. She and Anne de Mare founded Spargel Productions in 2002 to make their first feature documentary, Asparagus! Stalking the American Life, about Kirsten’s hometown. The pair is developingThe Girl with the Rivet Gun, an animated new media documentary project on Rosie the Riveter. Kelly is a two-time Helen Hayes Award-nominated best director and has directed award-winning theater productions in Chicago, Washington DC, and off-Broadway in New York. Her short film work has been seen at Juilliard and Lincoln Center. She is also an arts educator and the director and co-creator of “CPS Shakespeare,” which was featured on NBC Nightly News in 2010, a highly acclaimed program that works with Chicago public high school students at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. She is a graduate of Juilliard’s Master Directing program where she received the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship and is a member of Rising Phoenix Repertory in New York. LESS

Film Credits

A Film by
Anne de Mare and Kirsten Kelly

Produced and Directed by
Anne de Mare and Kirsten Kelly

Executive Producers
Justine Nagan
Gordon Quinn
Andrew W. Schwertfeger

Leslie Simmer

Written by
Anne de Mare
Kirsten Kelly
Leslie Simmer

Anne de Mare
Kirsten Kelly

Original Music
Greg Kalember

Katie Taber

Associate Producers
Jennifer Greenfield
Tristan Hanson
Elizabeth Hemmerdinger
Mary Jan Pories
Julie Smolyansky
Will Thwaites

Contributing Editor
Cheree Dillon

Sound Design and Re-Recording Mixer
Mike Frank

Jim Morrissette

Location Sound
Derek Hanson
John Mathie
Zak Piper
Rich Pooler

Additional Camera
Dinesh Sabu
Samuel J. Vega
Keith Walker
Tony Williams

Production Assistants
Bea Bosco
Matt Hawkins
Joel Moritz

Still Photography
Will Thwaites
Samuel J. Vega
Tony Williams

Titles and Graphics
Dizzy Giant

Original Music Produced and Recorded by
Sonic Highway Music & Sound

Assistant Editors
Hillary Bachelder
Philipp Batta
Lauren Callaghan
Brian Gersten
Ryan Gleeson
Carlos Rojas
Alanna Schmelter

Assistant Sound Effects Mixer
Gaelan Mullins

Technical Advisors
Jim Morrissette
Sandy Patch

Post Production
Hillary Bachelder
Ryan Gleeson
Nora Gully
Matt Lauterbach

Final Frame

Fair Use Consultant
Peter Jaszi

Madeline Field
Rachel Glass
Haley Rose Martin
Thomas Mathew
Aniluz Mercedes
Julianna Nunez
Rachel Rozycki
Kristen Zelenka

Rachel Dickson

Aniluz Mercedes

Kate Amend
Carol Dysinger
Tom Haneke
Victor Livingston
Cara Mertes
Robb Moss
Jean Tsien

Kartemquin Films Director of Communications and Distribution
Tim Horsburgh

Impact Producer
Erin Sorenson

Impact Campaign Management
Picture Motion

Grant Writing
Bea Bosco

Chicago Outreach Coordinator
Dawn Dewald

Kartemquin Films Director of Finance and Operations
Suzanne Niemoth

Kartemquin Films Finance
Yvonne Afable
Maria Galent
Marriah Kern
Christine Mcalonan
Alex Stein

Spargel Productions Accountant
Jerome Adler

Additional Kartemquin Films Staff
Tamara Fouche
Alison Hanold
Beckie Stocchetti

Hamlet Production
Music and Sound Design: Lindsay Jones and James Savage
Fight Choreographer: Matt Hawkins
Lighting Design: Joel Moritz
Costume Design: Robert Kuhn

Additional Footage
Fox 32 News
Fox Broadcasting Company
The Boondocks
Sony Digital Productions
Wii Sports Nintendo

Archival Footage
“Little Prince” Video Montage Courtesy of Anthony Lynch


“Pomp And Circumstance March No. 1”
Composed by Edward Elgar
Published by Perfect Solution Music
Provided by Quantum Music Works

Incidental Music
Written by Bob Marley
Performed by Bob Marley and The Wailers

“Under Ground Kings”
Written by Aubrey Drake Graham,
Tyler Williams, Noah James Shebib

“Did It on ‘Em”
Written by Shondrae L. Crawford, Justin Ellington, Onika Tanya Maraj, Safaree Lloyd Samuels
Performed by Nicki Minaj

“Blame It on the Boogie”
Written by Michael George Jackson, David Jackson, Elmar Krohn
Dr. Ozella Barnes • Jake Bradley • Kalvin Fortenberry
Anthony Lynch • Maria Rivera • Roque Sanchez
Pat Scott • Angeline “Kasey” White

Special Thanks to
Jenny Avery
Tracy Baim
Amy Carle
CPS Shakespeare! Hamlet
Chapin Hall at The University of Chicago
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
Chicago HOPES
Chicago Media Partners
Chicago Public Schools’ Students in Temporary Living Situations
Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Scott Duff
Maria Finitzo
Michael Fosberg
Paula Froehle
GoodPitch Chicago
Marilyn Halperin
Paul Hamann
Jon Hornbacher
Ken Hunter
Steve James
Liz Kaar
The Kartemquin Films Interns
Alex Kotlowitz
La Casa Norte
Lake View Lutheran Church
Jack Lawhon
Lefkofsky Family Foundation
Jonathan Lester
Brad Lichtenstein
Jeri Lynch Linas
National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth
National Network for Youth
The Night Ministry’s The Crib
One Heart One Soul
Percy L. Julian High School
Prosser Career Academy
Bobby Rivera
Rush Medical Center
Sandra Shimon
David E. Simpson
Chris Smith
John Stovkis
True Colors Fund’s Forty to None Project
Teen Living Programs
Year Up Chicago

Supervising Producer for ITVS
Richard O’Connell

Executive Producer for ITVS
Sally Jo Fifer

Funding Provided by
MacArthur Foundation
The Chicago Community Trust
Polk Bros. Foundation
Sundance Institute
Baskin Family Foundation
Chicken and Egg Pictures
Denny and Sandy Cummings
Pierce Family Foundation
Nathan Cummings Foundation
Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation
Vicki and Bruce Heyman – GS Gives
David and Sandy Kollmorgen
Ellen Fox
Barney and Nancy Straus
Kat White
Mullen Family Foundation
The Woods Fund
A complete list available from PBS.

The Homestretch is a co-production of Spargel Productions LLC,
Kartemquin Educational Films and the Independent Television Service (ITVS),
with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

This film was produced by Spargel Productions and Kartemquin Films
who are solely responsible for its content.

© 2014 Spargel Productions and Kartemquin Films

How has watching The Homestretch changed your perception of the homeless? Have you experienced homelessness yourself for any period of time? Do you think your community does enough to combat the issue?


  • News & Documentary Emmy Award
    Outstanding Business and Economic Reporting - Long Form
Please review our comment guidelines.
How has watching The Homestretch changed your perception of the homeless? Have you experienced homelessness yourself for any period of time? Do you think your community does enough to combat the issue?