Surviving Friendly Fire

Directed by Todd Nelson
2000
USA
60 mins

There are over a million homeless youth on the streets of America; thousands of these youths live on the streets of Hollywood. They are runaways, some are “throwaways,” abandoned or forcefully exiled from their families’ homes. The average age of these youths is 15. About a third of them are LGBTQ+. In their survival, these young people endure familial abuse, suicide attempts, drugs and alcohol, prostitution, and life on the streets.

In 1992, seventy homeless youths—of various racial, cultural and sexual identities—registered for a theatre project in the Hollywood shelter where they lived. Through this project, they were encouraged to share their stories. Over a period of seven months, these stories were shaped into monologues, scenes, and songs. Of the original seventy, ten completed the project and became performers, playing the roles from each others’ lives. In 1993, their play Friendly Fire was the centerpiece of the prestigious Los Angeles Festival before it toured to high acclaim in high schools throughout the city. The 2000 documentary Surviving Friendly Fire is a documentary about ten teenagers who endured incredible cruelties and hardships and found the courage to tell their story.

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