Us and Them: Transformation Through Human Connection

Submitted by Michelle Staples, Social Planning Cowichan

(Michelle Staples is an elected member of Duncan City Council, Executive Director of Social Planning Cowichan and an Inclusive Leader in the Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.)

Filmed over a decade, US AND THEM is a deeply visceral film about transformation through human connection.

It all begins when filmmaker Krista Loughton befriends four chronically homeless people in an effort to help them heal their lives. Under the mentorship of Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr., Krista decides to teach her friends how to balance on the First Nations Medicine Wheel. In the beginning, there is connection and hope, but unfortunately, none are able to conquer their addictions or significantly change their lives. And then tragically, one dies. Out of her league, Krista seeks out the counsel of addiction expert Dr. Gabor Maté, who forces her to confront her own motivations about her need to relieve pain in the world. Krista confesses her own emotional struggles with her remaining street friends. They display an extraordinary empathy and wisdom no one could have anticipated.

How To View This Film

Inclusive Leaders around the world can rent or purchase Us and Them by clicking on the link above on the trailer. You can pay with a Credit Card or by Pay Pal. Rental costs $13.41 and purchase costs $20.15 (Canadian Currency).

Or, contact for information about purchasing a license for a group showing.

Note from Linda Hill, Inclusive Leadership Co-ordinator

Inclusive Leaders living on Vancouver Island,BC, Canada recently showed up with over 500 people at a public showing on the big screen:

Us & Them Film and Panel Discussion on Homelessness and Addiction
Date: Tuesday January 23, 2018
Door Open: 6:30
Time: 7-9:30 including intermission
Entry by donation
Location: Island Savings Centre Cowichan Theatre

We had the opportunity to meet both Krista and Karen in the lobby. There was a stigma room in which we experienced what it is like to sit on the street watching a judgmental world go by.  Follow the show there was a panel discussion featuring:

  • Krista Loughton Filmmaker
  • David Mitchell – Warmland House
  • David Street – Warmland House
  • Stacy Middlemiss – Stigma
  • MC – Fred Roland

The consensus was that the film had done it’s job in impacting our hearts. Many of us felt torn apart by the experience.

For myself, when I watched this compassionate film starring Krista, Stan, Dawnelda, Eddie and Karen,  I was changed and affirmed. Throughout the film, I was drawn in to the honest and raw portrayal of five people from very different backgrounds building inclusive and welcoming relationships based on compassion, connection and courage.

I recognize and acknowledge Krista Loughton as a fellow Inclusive Leader; another person who is part of a world wide movement of people engaged in exploring answers to the powerfully simple question, “What can I do?”

As you watch this film I imagine you will be touched and inspired. As you watch this film, I challenge you to choose to ask yourself “What can I do?” and when the film ends, begin exploring whatever answers begin emerging. Perhaps you will be affirmed in what you are already doing and perhaps new answers will emerge about your vital role in building welcoming and inclusive communities where everyone experiences safety, respect, positive choices, and joy in our daily lives. As you explore, I hope you will see yourself as part of a world wide movement of made up of ordinary individuals and groups who care about people and the planet in ways that are life-enriching and life-sustaining. What we each do matters. Our relationships with each other matter. The bridges we are building across our differences and the places we go when we cross those bridges together matter.”