“Streetwise is surprising for the frankness of the material it contains.”—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Taking their camera to the Seattle streets in 1983 in what was supposedly America’s most livable city, filmmaker Martin Bell, photographer Mary Ellen Mark, and journalist Cheryl McCall set out to tell the stories of those whom society had left behind: homeless and runaway teenagers living on the city’s margins.
Born from a Life magazine exposé by Mark and McCall, Streetwise follows an unforgettable group of at-risk children—including iron-willed fourteen-year-old Tiny, who would become the project’s most haunting and enduring face, along with the pugnacious yet resourceful Rat, and the affable drifter DeWayne—who, driven from their broken homes, survive by hustling, panhandling, and dumpster diving. Granted remarkable access to their world, the filmmakers craft a devastatingly earnest, nonjudgmental portrait of lost youth growing up far too soon in a world that has failed them. 1984, U.S., 4K DCP, 91 minutes. Recommended for 16+.