FMOP sponsors screening of foreclosure documentary

October 09, 2013

A film highlighting the personal stories of Northwest families facing foreclosure will be shown in Tacoma as part of a program at Seattle University School of Law aimed at helping distressed homeowners.

The Foreclosure Mediation and Outreach Project organized the screening of the documentary, "American Winter," at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, at the Grand Theater, 606 S Fawcett Ave, Tacoma. The stories of families struggling to make ends meet and avoid foreclosure show the need for community involvement to help Pierce County families.

Admission is free, but tickets are required. Reserve your seat at  starting Oct. 10 or call (253) 572-5134 or e-mail for more information.

The documentary, directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmakers Joe and Harry Gantz ("Taxicab Confessions," "The Defenders"), follows eight families struggling in the wake of the economic downturn. Shot over the winter of 2011-12 in Portland, this powerful film reveals the human impact of budget cuts to social services, rising poverty and economic inequality, and the fracturing of the American Dream.

Guests are invited to stay after the film for a reception at Corina Bakery next door to hear from co-director Harry Gantz and one of the families featured in the film. They and local experts will talk about how the themes of "American Winter" are relevant in the community and share resources available to help Pierce County families prevent foreclosure and its consequences.

The Foreclosure Mediation and Outreach Project is a collaboration between the law school's Access to Justice Institute, Ronald A. Peterson Law Clinic, and several legal aid organizations aimed at better educating homeowners about their options when facing foreclosure. Law students hold monthly legal clinics for homeowners and work with partner attorneys to expand outreach and foreclosure prevention services to low- and moderate-income homeowners under Washington's Foreclosure Fairness Act. The project is focused on Pierce County, which has some of the state's highest foreclosure rates, as well as disproportionately low numbers of foreclosure mediation requests; however, the project also works in King and Snohomish counties.

"American Winter" premiered on HBO in March 2013 and won Best Documentary Award at the Portland International Film Festival and "Best of the Festival" at the Workers Unite! Film Festival.

This screening is brought to Washington by the partners of the Pierce County Foreclosure Prevention Roundtable, a group that the Foreclosure Mediation and Outreach Project convened earlier this year, including Seattle University School of Law's Foreclosure Mediation and Outreach Project, Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association's Volunteer Legal Services Program and Home Justice Project, Northwest Justice Project's Foreclosure Prevention Unit, Columbia Legal Services, Associated Ministries, Washington Department of Financial Institutions, South Sound Outreach, Parkview Services, Pierce County Center for Dispute Resolution, Puget Sound Mediation, and others including housing counselors, mediators, paralegals and attorneys.

Angeline Thomas, Foreclosure Mediation & Outreach Project Attorney, Seattle University School of Law, 206-398-4304,