No Place Like Home is the story of a young girl, Barbara Fay Wilson, who lives with her mother, brother, and sister in homeless shelters and seedy motels on Aurora Avenue, a forgotten stretch of prosperous Seattle. The film was broadcast nationally on PBS, as part of the POV series, and premiered at the Venice Film Festival and was shown at festivals in Cork, Lisbon, Melbourne, Sydney, Paris, and St. Petersburg, Russia, among others. It won film festival awards in Chicago, San Francisco, and Atlanta.
Over the course of eight months, No Place Like Home documents the daily life of Barbie Wilson’s family. The Wilsons spend their days stretching welfare checks and shuttling between shelters while they wait for public housing and a future that doesn’t seem to arrive. Barbara’s mother, Lori, recounts a childhood of abuse and violence, and explains that she has always felt like an outsider. ”I don’t know if I do it to myself,” she says, ”or if I’ve just gotten used to it.” As Barbara tells her story, trying to make sense of a legacy of domestic violence, poverty, and abandonment, she emerges as the target of her own anger. Only ten-years old, she’s “tired of moving, tired of packing, tired of everything.” She speaks dispassionately about being beaten by her father, about homelessness and the fears it engenders, and about her mother’s prior imprisonment on drug charges. Her eerie calm belies the dangers she faces, and it becomes clear that the loss of her home is only the most recent in a long series of losses.
No Place Like Home quietly observes the cycles that keep families tied to poverty and violence, one generation to the next. It makes no pretense at answers; rather, attempting to show, through the eyes of one young girl, the questions.