Randolph student documents stories of homeless in Huntsville - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

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Randolph student documents stories of homeless in Huntsville

Nathaniel Anderson (Source: WAFF) Nathaniel Anderson (Source: WAFF)

A Randolph School student took the stories he heard from homeless persons living in Huntsville and put them together in a documentary he made. The documentary was part of a school project for his film class.

"Well I grew up in New York and I moved down here to get married back in 2000. I believe it was 4 or 5.  And I ended up in a very dangerously abusive relationship," said an anonymous homeless woman in the film in one of many stories compiled by Nathaniel Anderson.

"One of the hardest things I had to do actually was after I interviewed everyone, was cutting about an hour of audio down to 10 minutes. I felt really bad about it.  Because the story itself was so intriguing," said Anderson.

That editing process, he said, made him feel like he was doing an injustice to the stories the people were telling.  He says he focused on the pursuit to escape homelessness, and he came to a conclusion about his own guilt.

"But I realized if I'm just feeling guilty about stuff, that's not really going to help at all.  So you've actually got to step out and actually start doing stuff for those people, cause that's actually what matters," he said.

Producing the film on homelessness gave Nathaniel a new perspective. And watching it gives others a new perspective into people who have no home. In fact, for some, they don't even know where their next meal is going to come from."

He says the project shattered preconceived notions about homeless people. Seeing the long lines at Manna House, a local food distribution center, reminded him that hunger, often, goes hand in hand with homelessness. 

He hopes viewers see this and more.

"I want them to walk away and think, man I can actually go do something about that and I can help these people," said Anderson.

"What you see of him is that he's taking his passions and his interest and he's sharing them and he's making a difference in the community and I think that's a message that we want to have," said Randolph Middle Schools Head Clay Elliot.

"Helping them explore their passions and their interests," said Elliot. "And then finding avenues that they're excited to share that to make our communities a better place is really important."

And a teaching lesson which will stay with Nathaniel  and others for a long time.

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