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By Nathan Hughes

More than 3,000 people in Charlotte are considered homeless. According to Pivot Point Transitional Housing CEO Barry Shipp — who was guest speaker at the final (for now) Indie on Wheels event — this also means that 3,000 Charlotte citizens are, in his words, considered “invisible.” Indie on Wheels strived to make their voices and stories heard through the power of film. 

Indie on Wheels is a unique community engagement initiative by The Independent Picture House that is breaking the barrier of transportation. It not only brings films to the community, but curates films that are specifically tailored to the neighborhood. This approach has allowed IPH to connect with both familiar and new faces in the city, as well as local libraries and organizations. “IPH asked the libraries what the community wants to see and what resources they need, and we chose a film that was connected to the interests of that respective neighborhood,” said Claire Lechtenberg, IPH’s Director of Development & Marketing. 


On June 11, in partnership with the Sugar Creek branch of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Indie On Wheels screened A Decent Home, a harrowing yet humanizing documentary on the affordable housing crisis. Documentarian Sara Terry takes a more personal approach to depicting the daunting topic, allowing those affected by this crisis to tell the story themselves. 

The film shines a light on an issue that concerns so many Americans: the ability to afford livable housing. Rebecca Stickel, Director of Housing at YWCA Central Carolinas, said the problems the film portrays are prevalent in Charlotte. “I thought that the film … helped to hopefully dispel the myths about the stigmas that we have regarding people who need affordable housing and people who are accessing these services,” Stickel said. “Almost half of our population in Charlotte, 46% based on the UNCC study, are living outside their means and living in housing that they can’t necessarily afford. These are people working in our school systems, checking us out at the grocery store and our frontline workers that are doing really incredible, great work.” 

Through its Indie on Wheels events, IPH has spread awareness about issues directly affecting Charlotte and inspired communities to get involved.  “Every vote of one person’s opinion matters and counts, and even if you can just change one mind, that can spark a catalyst,” Stickel said. “And so anyone who attends [Indie On Wheels] may think about something a little bit differently, or anybody who maybe didn’t attend but saw the poster and then goes and watches the movie on their own time and learns a little bit more, that’s going to help benefit all of us and help us gain a better understanding of each other, and that’s what helps encourage change.” 

With the success of the first leg of the Indie on Wheels tour, The Independent Picture House plans to continue the series with the goal of impacting, inspiring and educating the local community through film. 

Stay tuned for information on the next Indie on Wheels series!


Indie on Wheels is sponsored by Culture Blocks– a community partnership between ASC, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation-to bring arts and cultural experience closer to where residents live, at no cost to participants. Culture Blocks is funded by Mecklenburg County. 

Nathan Hughes is a recent graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with a degree in Cinema Studies and Journalism. In his free time, he enjoys studying the art of reality television and listening to dance music.
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