It really means so much to have LOST ANGELS: SKID ROW IS MY HOME
honored in this way and it gives me a chance to publicly thank LAMP for their incredible levels of trust right from the beginning. We were given the gift of access to work with the clients at Lamp. Without that we would never have met with Linda Harris, Detroit (Terri Hughes), Lee Anne (the Cat Lady), Bam Bam, OG or KK, (Kevin Cohen). Through those relationships we met Danny “The Olympian” Harris at The Midnight Mission & General Dogon and all at LACAN.
These are our LOST ANGELS in the film, but they have all been my teachers from the beginning, they showed me what it is to recover, to find grace and to become of service. I did not expect to have a life changing experience making this film, but that is exactly what happened. I am forever in the debt of these people because they have shown me through their strength & experience that we do recover, and that we can repair our broken hearts and heads.
The idea right from the beginning was to let the people of Skid Row speak for themselves, and we were blown away by:
• Their dignity,
• Their resilience,
• Their honesty and,
• Their stories about life dealing with mental illness and addiction on Skid Row. We set out to show the poetry in the person with schizophrenia and the wisdom in the heart of a person trying to break a crack addiction.
But IRONICALLY it was their journeys into mental health units, supportive housing, into therapy, into recovery, into activism and social action that became the journey of the film. That is why we added the line SKID ROW IS MY HOME to the film's title.
These stories are individually full of hope but they give all of us hope, because drug addiction and mental illness are part of life wherever we are, and we have to face these issues together, find help from each other. It became very clear that beneath the surface there was a vibrant and incredible community on Skid Row and that there were hundreds if not thousands of volunteers, care-workers, mental health workers, lawyers & activists working to sustain and improve life of the people on Skid Row.
- Thomas Napper, October 2012
DIRECTOR – Thomas Q. Napper
Director Thomas Napper has grown to know many residents of Skid Row through his work on the feature film THE SOLOIST
. Not only were hundreds of homeless people cast as extras for the film, many found work in supporting roles and in production. Several members of LAMP, told their stories in a drama workshop and it was these ‘stories of the streets’ that were the direct inspiration for LOST ANGELS
. It was their unbridled honesty combined with their resilience and humor that led Thomas to explore why exactly Skid Row was their Home. Thomas realized that Skid Row was a community, and a community under siege. All the interviewees wanted to talk about 'Safer Cities', and the over-policing of the 50 blocks that they call home. Using found footage the film explores the impact of Chief Bratten’s zero tolerance approach to poverty and homelessness.
The documentary chronicles the journey of the people who live and survive in this unique community and lets them speak for themselves. LOST ANGELS
is a film that really allows the community of Skid Row to tell their own stories in their own words. By focusing on the individuals who have found hope, redemption, and a sense of belonging in a place most would never willingly enter. LOST ANGELS
illuminates the grave crisis in the U.S. surrounding our treatment of the mentally ill. In making the film, Thomas set out to show the poetic in the person with schizophrenia and the wisdom in the heart of a person trying to break a crack addiction. Venturing inside the heads and lives of these characters, and in so doing breaking down some prejudice and cast some light on the darkest streets of Los Angeles.
Thomas has established a reputation as a natural director of beautifully stylish and evocative imagery from his work as a commercial director through H.S.I, his recent work includes campaigns for BT & SKY ATLANTIC. His work displays an instinctive feel for mood and atmosphere. He has worked with his friend Joe Wright as 2nd Unit director on four films: the award winning ATONEMENT, PRIDE & PREJUDICE, THE SOLOIST and ANNA KARENINA
. Thomas has also collaborated with Joe on three films for Chanel, two for Coco Mademoiselle with Keira Knightly and recently Chanel No.5 with Brad Pitt.
Thomas was one of the founders of THE LOMOGRAPHIC SOCIETY in LONDON. Working with the designer Fabian Monheim together they staged many exhibitions in some of the most famous museums and galleries in London, Vienna, New York & Tokyo. As a creative team they wrote & designed books and generally forced people to take pictures without looking. Their seminal book “DON’T THINK, JUST SHOOT” is a practical & joyous guide to modern street photography.
Thomas worked for several years as a Music Video Director through THE OIL FACTORY in London, picking up awards for his work with GOTAN PROJECT, MANIC STREET PREACHERS & ROBBIE WILLIAMS. He is a graduate of St Martin’s School of Art, and the Ecole Nationale des Arts Decoratif
in Paris. He lives in London and is a very keen gardener.