"What a wonder life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner." Colette

Jan 30, 2021

PBS to broadcast Community First: the Movie

Community First Village is the unbelievable tiny-home community conceived, constructed and overseen by Alan and Tricia Graham, for the chronically homeless of Austin, Texas, what an incredible place.  I was a Workamper there for 9 months, during which time director Layton Blaylock (l) was filming a documentary about the 25 (now 51) acre compound.  He pulled up shortly after I arrived to introduce himself; and after explaining my Workamper status he asked if he could conduct an interview; Sure, you know me.*

It's an hour-long documentary which Layton worked very hard on: filming, fundraising, editing and promoting at film festivals until Covid, an all-too-familiar story.  He recently sent an email announcing the PBS broadcast schedule beginning in February; additional dates will be posted as I learn them. (Photo left: with fellow volunteer Lesslye Mason and Tricia Graham)  In Layton's words:

“I am beyond thrilled to announce the upcoming television broadcast debut of Community First, A Home for the Homeless on PBS starting in February! Dates and times will vary from city to city. There are too many cities and dates/times to list here, but here are a few of the locations that we know of at this time: Los Angeles/San Bernardino, San Francisco, Denver, Dallas, Austin, Columbus, OH, Mississippi (statewide), and South Carolina (statewide). There will be more to come as the various PBS stations fill in their schedules.

"I made this documentary to show other cities the amazing model for transforming the lives of our homeless neighbors that Community First! Village has created, and PBS was always my dream "venue" for introducing this film to the country."

(Photos below: Layton sent me a copy of the film and I shot some of these photos while watching. The RV montage goes by in a flash, but if you look you'll see my RV is part of the image, several times!)

"KLRU will be our presenting station. For those who don’t know, KLRU is the Austin PBS station where Austin City Limits originates. Having KLRU as the presenting station adds a whole other level of prestige to our rollout in February. KLRU is highly respected for the content that it produces and is a great brand to be associated with. I’m really excited about this!

"In addition to being consistently noted as one of the nation’s most trusted institutions, here are a few interesting stats about PBS viewers: Its prime time audience is larger than that of A&E (the PBS audience is 135% larger), Bravo (126%), TLC (122%), Discovery Channel (79%) and HGTV (39%). What better vehicle for a socially conscious organization to have their name attached to a documentary that introduces an amazingly innovative remedy for our homeless neighbors, i.e. Community First! Village.

"Also, the film will be showing in Lebanon, Mexico, and Russia in the next two months as a result of being one of the 35 films selected by the American Film Showcase. There are 55 U.S. Embassies around the world that have access to the films offered by AFS. I am so honored that our film was chosen by the American Film Showcase and thrilled that other countries will be learning about this unique solution to helping and healing our homeless brothers and sisters."

Dates vary from city to city, so here is next week’s schedule (February 1-7).   Future dates will be posted as received.  It's a film worth watching.


KENW, February 1 at 7:00pm

San Antonio:

KLRN, February 2 at 8:00pm,
KLRN February 5 at midnight

Columbus, OH:

WOUB, February 3 at midnight
WOUB Classic Channel, February 4 at 4:00am,
WOUB Ohio Classic, February 6 at 11:00pm

Me again:  If you subscribe to PBS Passport you might be able to access Live Streams from a different location, I'll be finding out myself. Click here for participating PBS stations.

* The first time I watched Warren Beatty's film Reds (in the 1980s) I became fascinated with the first-person accounts by those who knew John Reed.  Old folks reflecting on an extraordinary time in their lives.  I thought it would be cool to be attached to something worthy of a documentary.

Just goes to show, things might not work out the way you figure but they usually do work out, in some form.  Alan Graham told me he'd wanted to become a real estate developer; he just never dreamed it would be Community First.

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