Newcastle's Tyneside Cinema hosts premiere of documentary-style film calling for reform

Earl John Charlton, from North Shields, is a former rough sleeper and stars in the film. Credit: Dartmouth Films / Someone's Daughter, Someone's Son

The world premiere of a film documenting homelessness in the UK is being held at Newcastle's Tyneside Cinema.

Someone's Daughter, Someone's Son will be shown on Thursday 8 February and features former rough sleeper Earl John Charlton from the North East.

The documentary-style production calls for reform in how homelessness and rough sleeping is tackled.

Based in North Shields, Mr Charlton was on and off the streets himself for 25 years.

He faced violence in his home and grew up in care and foster homes. Later, Mr Charlton battled substance and alcohol addiction, but began selling the 'Big Issue' and turned his life around.

He told ITV Tyne Tees being homeless "takes your spirit away, it rips everything, your dignity, your pride, your self worth" and "I ended up taking drugs and alcohol just to get through the day and night".

Earl John Charlton collaborated with other rough sleepers as part of the documentary film. Credit: Dartmouth Pictures

Mr Charlton continued: "I am the voice for those who can't be here and I'm also the voice for those who aren't being heard. To many, I was invisible.

"People never heard my opinion or my voice or cries for help when I needed support so I'm here for those who aren't here any more and also those that are here just to fight the struggles.

"There are things we can do to stop people from being homeless."

The new film is directed by Lorna Tucker, who became homeless herself aged just 14. She spent two years on the streets, sleeping under Waterloo Bridge in London, while spending time in and out of sheltered accommodation.

Academy Award winner and national treasure Colin Firth voices the feature, which has received support from musicians Sam Fender and Bryan Adams.

The Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle city centre is hosting the premiere. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The premiere follows a kickstarter fundraiser to launch the film, which raised £30,000.

Dartmouth Films, which made the film, said: "We’ve been touched by the outpouring of kindness and generosity from the public who’ve connected with Lorna and Earl’s stories, and want to actively make a difference to homelessness by supporting our film. 

"With the February release date now confirmed, we have an even bigger platform to raise awareness and talk about solutions that get to the root of the systemic issues surrounding homelessness.

"We hope the film will be a valuable tool in the campaign to end homelessness once and for all."

A government spokesperson for the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said: "We are determined to end rough sleeping for good and are working hand-in-hand with the homelessness sector and other partners to make sure people have a roof over their head and the support to rebuild their lives.

"Through our £2 billion Rough Sleeping Strategy we are supporting people into permanent accommodation and working to end rough sleeping completely."

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