Due primarily to the economic recession, a growing number of people are finding themselves in a position they never imagined: homeless. Nashville, TN is home to a fast rising tent city population. With a shelter system that cannot support even 1 out of 5 of the city’s homeless population, most people have nowhere to go. Nearly 100 homeless individuals have come together to form Nashville’s Tent City, which is located under a bridge close to the city’s center. Tent City, U.S.A. explores this community, which is self-sustained and self-governed. The camp has its own council, composed of eight camp residents who meet once a week to discuss residents’ issues. For the first time in Nashville history, the municipally run Homeless Commission has opened one seat on its Council to a resident of Tent City. Four people from Tent City have decided to run for the position and one elected resident will have the opportunity to spearhead the search for new land for a transitional camp for the homeless, a new Tent City.
When I first saw the documentary’s title, I thought it was about the Occupy Wall Street movement. Once I put the disc in, I found out it was about Tent City, a homeless community in Tennessee and the problems they face. The first information audiences is giving is that there is 5,000 homeless in Nashville, which is 30 percent above the national average. These people are not just Nashville residents, but people from other states that have found their way to Nashville.
Director Steven Cantor doesn’t just give figures; he talks to Tent City residents. He makes you feel for these men and women who are living off the grid, not by choice, but by situations that have happened to them. He follows Wendell, Tee Tee, Macgyver, and others over a nine month period in 2010. He even captured the devastation the 2010 Nashville Flood had on Tent City. The flood waters rose over eight feet there.
None. There is a section called ”Clean Cover Shots” at the end of the movie’s credits. I am not sure what it was or what the filmmakers were trying to do achieve with it since there was no sound; only the picture.
Tent City, USA is an eye opening documentary from OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, which is worth seeing. You will feel for the people who were talked to for this film. It’s amazing that the flooding of the the Opryland Hotel made the news in 2010, but the complete destruction of Tent City didn’t.
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