Graham Murphy waits at the head of the table for members of his club, the Struggle Party, to wander in. Murphy begins the informal meeting by joking about math class that day, or discussing where to volunteer that coming weekend. He and the rest of the members don’t worry about needing to start editing hours of footage or string together audio from their interviews. They aren’t stressed, or even thinking about the approaching day it would all be due. Everything would have to be done, ready to present on May 7.
After failed Facebook and Twitter accounts, the Struggle Party decided that a documentary was the best way to spread the word about their cause. This began when they bounced different approaches of publicizing off of each other. However, the currently un-named film isn’t going to be like most other documentaries, according to Murphy.
The Struggle Party is a group of East students that volunteer and work to better the community around them. They hope to spread awareness about people and organizations in Kansas City that are in need of help.
“We are a community with many resources and many educated people,” Murphy said. “A lot of people here want to help, but are ignorant on how. By spreading the word about some things they might not know, we could potentially do something more to change the world than we could do alone.”
Murphy believes many other documentaries choose one topic and delve into that. They get the details and strongly opinionated interviews. For this half-hour documentary, however, the Struggle Party plans to cover a wide spectrum of problems, from homelessness to environmental cleanups.
As the Struggle Party nears that one month premiere date, juniors Celia Hack and Sean Overton are in charge of editing the almost-final film. They combine audio and video to complete their student-made documentary.
The group is finalizing interviews with heads of organizations like Uplift KC, Avenues to Hope, McKinney-Vento Programs, etc. All the interviews are of people who either have a career dedicated to homelessness and poverty, or someone with hands on experience with the those topics.
The Struggle Party believes that homelessness is the most dramatic issue the Kansas City area is facing. Their goal is not only to show the physical aspect, but the psychological aspect of homelessness.
“I feel like some people just don’t know people that homelessness is [in Kansas City],” Senior Struggle Party member Cassy Roque said. “I feel like it needs to be more of a real thing for people. It is an issue everywhere and it really needs to be brought to the attention of people more.”
Local artist Carl Woo has been chosen to play a large part in the documentary. A majority of the money Woo raises from his art is donated to the homeless. The Struggle Party hopes to capture how much Woo has helped the homeless, and how prevalent it is in the Kansas City area.
The Struggle Party has teamed up with Creative CoLab, a club created by art teacher Adam Finkelston, which gives the group an opportunity to show their documentary. There is a specified activism-themed presentation at the Creative CoLab warehouse in the West Bottoms on May 7 where the documentary will be premiered.
Finkelston’s goal when first creating the club was to get students involved and “colab”-ing through art. Murphy figured Creative CoLab was the perfect platform for a fun, casual piece of work, like the documentary.
Throughout the filming process, Murphy has befriended many people featured in interviews that have hands-on experience with homelessness, and plans to capture all of aspects of the topic. Even while finishing the film, Murphy and the rest of the Struggle Party want to continue helping the homeless.
“[Volunteering] is what we love doing” Murphy said. “And that’s what really makes the difference.”