Institute History

  • 1991 Sundance Film Festival


Takeover documents the first nationally synchronized homeless action: On May 1, 1989, the homeless population of twelve cities moved into vacant, federally owned HUD homes. The film covers this action in the eight cities of New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Tucson, Detroit, Oakland, Chicago, and Minneapolis, and offers an insight into what may be an emerging movement.

Homeless activists have organized their constituents to go on the offensive fueled by their seething anger at the Housing and Urban Development's alleged squandering of dollars during the Reagan administration. Promises of a homeless program that would turn over a percentage of HUD homes for use by the homeless have gone unfulfilled. Takeover portrays these indi-viduals whose lives have been devastated and now are being renewed by the hope of a solution.

Filmed in the cinema vent& of photojournalism, Takeover has all the urgency of an on-the-spot account. It is as aggressive as its subjects, with its footage intelligently fashioned into a non-stop flurry of activism. It is a timely documentary that explores a growing problem, but also offers a solution. More importantly, Takeover displays the lack of a unified response and a growing frustration, not only on the part of the people living in the streets, but also by police and city officials who must grapple with the homeless problem daily. Whereas in most cities the activists were arrested for moving into HUD homes, in Philadelphia city officials have inaugurated a hands-off policy as a sign of protest at the government 's insensitivity. Takeover puts us in the middle of a current and crucial problem.

— Alberto Garcia

Screening Details

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]