Perhaps no one was more surprised than local producer Joe Campo of Grassroots films when the Justice Film Festival at the Sheen Center in Manhattan named his film Outcasts as the winner of the prize for best film of the festival on October 8th. One of the films that Outcasts beat out was The Story of Us, which featured Morgan Freeman who made a personal appearance at the screening. The judges explained that they chose Campo’s film because Outcasts offered the public a way of seeing the outcasts in a completely different light, that light was hope, viewing the problems of the poor in a non-judgmental way.
The film features The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal who work in some of the most dangerous and marginalized communities in the world. Outcasts shows how the friars offer peace, forgiveness and compassion to people who are at the extreme margins of society. Outcasts takes the viewers to some pretty rough places. It was filmed at a men’s shelter in he South Bronx, a food pantry in Harlem, on the violent streets of Newark, N.J., a prison in Comayagua, Honduras and in Moyross, Ireland known for its murder rate as “stab city”. The film is at times harrowingly real, depicting the brutal side of life, yet it is also a hopeful film, with the grim scenes it sometimes shows lightened up by moments of real comedy. The stars of the film are the friars who still exude love and hope, despite living in such hard circumstances.
Producer Joe Campo spent seven years making the film. He said of his film: “Outcasts is different from my other productions because in this film we took very big risks, putting ourselves in some dangerous situations. We knew when filming in dangerous areas like the prisons in Honduras, crack dens in England, and Ireland that at any moment something could go wrong so our safety was at risk. Most people are very surprised to see the outcasts in a personal way and to actually enter into the word or drugs, prostitution and homelessness.” Campo said that he was thrilled to win the award. Outcasts has had numerous well-attended screenings around the United States and in Europe.
For more info on Outcasts, check out the film’s website.