“My Home Unknown” Sheds Light on Homelessness Through a Woman’s Eyes – Hollywood Heavyweights Rally Behind Yaz Canli’s Directorial Debut

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A groundbreaking narrative feature film, shot entirely on location in Los Angeles, captures the raw and unfiltered experiences of a woman, “Mina,” experiencing homelessness during a mental health crisis. “My Home Unknown,” directed by its talented star, Yaz Canli, promises to challenge perceptions and evoke empathy with its intimate portrayal of a marginalized character.

Canli says, “We have a global crisis on our hands. There are 100 million people experiencing homelessness in the world, yet, when was the last time you looked a person experiencing homelessness in the eye?”

She adds, “We are all humans that breathe air, eat and sleep. We are all someone’s daughter, sibling or friend. We all have a name. It was this thought that inspired this film and our tagline, ‘Compassion begins when we don’t look away.’”

The world premiere of “My Home Unknown” will take place at the prestigious Dances With Films festival in Hollywood, at the legendary TCL Chinese Theaters, on Wednesday, June 28th at 7:15 p.m..

This event marks a pivotal moment, as the film is the only current movie highlighting a woman’s experience with homelessness.

The Streets of Los Angeles

Canli wanted “My Home Unknown” to be an authentic look at this beloved city.

It was filmed in Los Angeles at the height of the pandemic, during quarantine times with a core of five dedicated crew members—amidst the homelessness crisis.

They filmed all over the map to showcase the versatility of the city. It was important to follow the lead character Mina’s nomad lifestyle in order to have the audience experience what life on the streets might be like.

The filmmakers did not shy away from including neighborhoods like Compton, where they went into the heart of gang territory to film the basketball scenes with Mina’s homies—or Skid Row where Mina walks through tented streets, lost during a mental episode.

They cover it all—from the beautiful Burbank mountains to well-groomed West Hollywood and urban downtown to the filthy LA River.

Spotlight on Yaz Canli and Diane Foster

Yaz Canli, a Turkish-German writer, director and actor, moved to Los Angeles to follow her passion for storytelling through cinema. With her background in dramatic arts, Canli’s work centers on telling stories that often go unheard.

Joining her is Diane Foster, producer of “My Home Unknown,” and a multi-award-winning American director and actor. She founded WallyBird Productions to foster diversity and equality in media.

The Driving Forces Behind “My Home Unknown”

What sets this film apart is not just its unique subject matter, but the passion and commitment of the individuals involved. Canli and Foster, the visionaries behind this project, managed to garner the support of Hollywood heavy hitters like Lawrence Kasanoff, Jimmy Ienner and Michael Lloyd.

Lawrence Kasanoff, known for his work on blockbuster films like “Terminator 2” and “Mortal Kombat,” came on board as an Executive Producer. He rallied his entire team to contribute to the project—a testament to the film’s significance. Alongside him, Grammy and Oscar winner Jimmy Ienner and legendary record producer Michael Lloyd of “Dirty Dancing” fame, contributed their talents.

The production had no budget throughout the entire process and was made by a 100% self-funded, passionate filmmakers caring about the cause of raising awareness for homelessness and mental illness.

Making an Impact

Kasanoff says, “I’m interested in impact investing—investing for profit and social responsibility—in filmmaking. When Yaz asked me to help with ‘My Home Unknown,’ I approached some of the wonderful crew I work with all the time, like our music supervisor from ‘Dirty Dancing,’ Michael Lloyd, and asked if they would work for no cash but gross points (impact invest). Everyone said ‘yes.’ So, this entire movie was financed for virtually no cash.”

He continues, “All the effects team in Nepal at Incessant Rain; Jimmy Ienner and I as Executive Producers; the post team at Arsenal and Threshold Studios; our editors; and so forth, worked for only backend and the cause.  The idea is, we all hope the movie scores like ‘Coda’…but even if we make no money but positively impact how people view the homeless, we win. Maybe we discovered a new form of filmmaking: Impact Filmmaking.”

Endorsements and Grassroots Support

“My Home Unknown” has garnered unprecedented support from various non-profits, including the Downtown Women’s Center Los Angeles, The United Way LA, The Mike Curb Foundation, and the McLean Hospital.

This collaboration reflects the film’s commitment to raising awareness and de-stigmatizing homelessness and mental illness.

For those inspired by the film and looking to make a difference, volunteering and donations are a great way to start. You can volunteer with the Downtown Women’s Center or make a donation here.

Join the Conversation

“My Home Unknown” is not just a film; it is a movement. It challenges us to look beyond the surface and connect with the humanity of those struggling with homelessness and mental health issues.

The film’s core message is this: “Compassion begins when we don’t look away.” Through empathy and understanding, we can make a difference.

In an age where fleeting attention is often the norm, “My Home Unknown” beckons us to pause and truly see the world around us.

It is a clarion call for communities, policymakers, and people to not just be passive observers, but rather, active participants in building a more inclusive and compassionate society.

Through the power of cinema, this film has the potential to spark conversations, change attitudes, and inspire action. As audience members, let us carry the spirit of “My Home Unknown” beyond the theater and into our everyday lives, fostering a culture where empathy is the compass guiding our interactions with one another.

Don’t miss the opportunity to be part of this moment. Connect with “My Home Unknown” on social media for the latest updates and behind-the-scenes content:

Instagram: @myhomeunknown, @yazcanli, @wallybirdproductions

World Premiere Tickets: https://danceswithfilms.com/my-home-unknown

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