August 28, 1999

Lorna Thomas

Beating the Streets

Broadcast Date: Aug 28, 1999

(RealVideo clip) — Rough Cuts features the documentary "Beating the Streets" on Saturday, August 28 at 10pm ET with an encore presentation on Tuesday, Aug. 31 at 4pm ET and Wednesday, Sept. 1 at 1am ET.

In Beating the Streets, narrated by actor Tom Jackson, Alberta filmmaker Lorna Thomas chronicles how two Aboriginal teenagers from Edmonton turn their lives around with the help of a dedicated teacher.

Filmed over a period of six years, Thomas outlines the experiences of Lance Martin, a drug dealer at the age of 14 and Marilyn Brighteyes, a 13-year old prostitute. Also profiled is Joe Cloutier, a dedicated teacher who spearheads an innovative community project that includes a popular theatre program, a shelter and high school.

Beating the Streets provides insight into why these kids have ended up on the streets. Their theatre performances — tackling family violence, substance abuse and the long-term effects of residential schools — are followed by discussions which bring actors and audiences together to find constructive solutions to these problems.

The Inner City High School is threatened with closure when funding is cut, but Cloutier and his students persevere. "This is a story of survival and beating the odds," says Thomas. Capturing a historic moment, Thomas films Lance posing proudly in cap and gown as a member of the very first graduating class from Inner City High. She also shows Cloutier, a former school dropout, receiving his PhD diploma.

Marilyn also manages to beat the streets, but drops out of school to care for her two children.

Beating the Streets is co-produced by Lorna Thomas for Lorna Thomas Productions and Jerry Krepakevich for the National Film Board.

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Created: March 31, 2001
Last modified: April 8, 2001
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