USA 2019 Director: Mark Jonathan Harris / Deborah Oppenhemier
Streaming Oct 29, 2020 through November 4, 2020
“An intimate, intensely dramatic film that holds us in its grip like a page-turning novel. Except it’s all true.”
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
A revealing first-hand look at the foster care system in the United States, as experienced by young people within the system, and by those working tirelessly to support them. The latest collaboration between writer-director Mark Jonathan Harris and producer Deborah Oppenheimer (their 2000 documentary Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport won an Academy Award), FOSTER journeys into the inner workings of The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, the largest county child welfare system in the country. Here we meet Dasani, a whip-smart 16-year-old at a crossroads; Mary, just aged out of foster care and struggling to achieve independence; and Chris and his girlfriend Raeanne, a young mother struggling with addiction and trying to be reunified with the couple’s newborn daughter. Taking two years to research and negotiate access (each young subject required some 35 different people to sign off on the filming) and two more years to shoot, FOSTER explores a complex subject with both a critical and compassionate eye.
The Cinematheque is pleased to join with the UBC Department of Psychiatry and the Institute of Mental Health in presenting “Frames of Mind,” a monthly event utilizing film to promote professional and community education on issues pertaining to mental health and illness.
Virtual access to a film is provided for seven days, at the conclusion of which we present an online seminar featuring conversations with special guests and an audience Q&A via Zoom.
Free Live Q&A
November 4th (Wednesday) 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm PST
Register to watch the film and receive an invite to a free live Zoom Q&A with FOSTER writer-director Mark Jonathan Harris, producer Deborah Oppenheimer, and film subject Jessica Chandler, who will be joined by B.C. advocate Katherine McParland and Vancouver filmmaker Bruce Spangler.
Moderated by Dr. Harry Karlinsky, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia.
Co-sponsored by A Way Home Kamloops
Mark Jonathan Harris is an Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker whose many works include The Long Way Home (Academy Award, Feature Documentary, 1997) and Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport (Academy Award, Feature Documentary, 2000). He teaches filmmaking at the University of Southern California, where he is a Distinguished Professor.
Deborah Oppenheimer is an Academy Award-winning producer who made her feature film debut with the Oscar-winning documentary Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport. She is a prolific producer for cable and network television, and since 1994 has mentored a former foster youth who served a tour of duty in Iraq.
Jessica Chandler is a feature subject in FOSTER. As a former foster child, a young single mother, and now a social worker herself, she brings a unique perspective as both a former client and an advocate in the foster system. She is a graduate of the MSW program at Cal State Northridge.
Katherine McParland grew up in the foster care system in B.C. and has experienced extensive periods of homelessness. She is the founder and Executive Director of A Way Home Kamloops, a non-profit devoted to ending youth homelessness and ensuring access to safe housing, and a graduate of the Masters of Social Work Leadership program at the University of Calgary.
Bruce Spangler is a filmmaker, composer, and teacher. He is a former B.C. Child Protection Social Worker and a graduate of Simon Fraser University’s film program. His award-winning debut feature Protection (presented at Frames of Mind in 2004) was a drama based on his own experiences as a front-line child protection investigator.
(on the Cinematheque page, click on the orange stream cloud icon to register)