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Class produces short film on homelessness

Mike Diamond

What is the true meaning of the word “homelessness” in a town like Monmouth?

A group of five students, led by MC communication lecturer Chris Goble, have attempted to answer that question with a 10-minute documentary titled “Hidden Homelessness: Homelessness in Rural America.” The piece focuses on a single mother’s experience fighting to live in the Monmouth area without a home.

“Through one woman’s eyes, we want to raise awareness of what it is like for a lot of people who are homeless,” Goble explained.

The idea came from senior Maureen Soso of Chicago, who was inspired by a video she saw in another communication course about a homeless book club.

“After watching that video, I wondered what was around this area for homeless people,” said Soso, who worked on the large-scale project with other students enrolled in Goble’s “Advanced Video Production” course. “I also had seen a homeless woman in the library a few days earlier.”

The students hope their documentary will help demonstrate that homelessness is a nationwide problem, particularly following the recent recession.

“I realized that the problem affects not just cities, but rural areas as well,” commented junior Michelle Nutting of Weldon Spring, Mo., who assisted with the project.

Working on the documentary helped open the students’ eyes not only to the extent of the problem, but also to what the term “homeless” truly means.

“I learned that being homeless didn’t just mean those living on the streets, but also those who jump from relative to relative or friend to friend, staying with them,” Soso said.

The last time Goble offered the course, he worked with a pair of students on a centennial documentary about the Western Stoneware Company. It earned honors at four festivals, including the Award of Excellence from the Broadcasting Educators’ Association and the Fan Favorite award at the Black Earth Film Festival in Galesburg.

“Hidden Homelessness: Homelessness in Rural America,’ debuted recently on YouTube. It can be found on the MC-TV website or on the MC-TV YouTube channel at

Similar to the previous documentary, Goble plans to enter it into a number of film festivals within the next year. He will repeat the course during the spring semester in 2012.