A foster youth film created by Shani Heckman and Shanestar Productions.
AUDIENCE AWARD—2013 –Davis Feminist Film Festival
John M. Deen Social Justice Award – 2013 – Spokane International LGBTQ Fest
Through interviews, vérité footage, and digital stills, AMU reveals four queer former foster youth building their lives after emancipation from state care. With a three-act structure, AMU follows Connor, Savi, and Teruko over their first four years after foster care, juxtaposing these stories with those of Valerie, a successful adult former foster youth.
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Together, these multi-generational stories illuminate the common struggle for queer foster youth to overcome tremendous obstacles – homophobia, homelessness, isolation – and the new place of strength they reach in this process of survival. The characters’ resiliency, humor and sensitivity are illustrated by their incredible insights into their own identities and experiences as revealed in intimate interviews in the film. We hope that this unique connection generated from such candid interviews will inspire queer people and their allies to become foster parents and change the negative stigma associated with foster care.
Already ‘unwanted’ as foster youth, LGBT foster youth frequently experience additional harassments in their foster care placements, and many are placed in care because their biological families do not support their identities. More often than not, we take these queer youth from homophobic, abusive homes and put them in even more hostile situations. As we witness these youth’s lives juxtaposed with success stories from other survivors of foster care, AMU challenges to eradicate the stigma of foster youth in society. The film promotes respect for those coming out of the system and calls upon viewers to take action in caring for America’s queer foster youth, ideally inspiring empty-nesters to become foster parents.