Filmmaker reveals decade-long bond with homeless in documentary

A former Manitoban who sought out homeless people with the hope of changing their lives will tell their stories in a documentary that's been 10 years in the making Thursday night.

Us and Them is playing as part of the Spare Some Change film festival in Winnipeg

Us and Them is playing at Cinematheque in Winnipeg Thursday at 8:30 p.m. (Krista Loughton)

A former Manitoban who sought out homeless people with the hope of changing their lives will tell their stories in a documentary that's been 10 years in the making Thursday night.

Krista Loughton's film Us and Them is playing at Cinematheque in Winnipeg Thursday night at 8:30 p.m.

Loughton, who hails from Brandon, Man., sought out homeless people battling addiction in Vancouver 10 years ago with the goal of helping to turn their lives around.

But things didn't go according to plan — the four homeless people ended up helping Loughton instead of the other way around.

Loughton said she thinks her film feels natural due largely in part because of the time she spent with her four subjects: Karen Montgrand, Eddie Golko, Stan Hunter and Dawnellda Gauthier. She became close with all of them. 

'I can't do this anymore'

For Eddie, she remembers when the man's body couldn't tell the difference between warm or cold after coming in from outside.

"He couldn't tell if the cold was physical or psychological and he just sort of blew my mind," Loughton said.

Loughton said Montgrand, who had a difficult upbringing, was funny and the two had an instant friendship. They speak on the phone everyday now.

Hunter, a former heroin addict, inspired Loughton on the day he turned 60 and decided to turn his life around.

"I think he was just like, 'I can't do this anymore,'" she said.

There were challenges in creating Us and Them. For one, all but one of her subjects did not have a cellphone.

"If we had a shoot day, I would have to run around the day before find them, remind them," Loughton said.​​

Loughton said she hopes people who see her film leave looking at homeless people in a new light.

"I think in some ways we are achieving that. I think people are looking at street people as just people."

with files by Ismaila Alfa