Chattanooga’s ArtsBuild has released a short documentary film highlighting a Salvation Army theater project.

The program-“Walk in My Shoes”-was funded by an ArtsBuild Community Cultural Connections Grant program, which makes art more accessible to underserved populations.

To highlight these programs, ArtsBuild commissioned area filmmaker Leif Ramsey of SVAD Productions to work on the project. His task was to create short films to showcase the progress and impact of the smaller CCC projects.


The result was “Walk in My Shoes,” a six-minute film that tells the story of Lee Sanders and his work with the theater program at the Salvation Army’s ReCreate CafĂ©. The program allows members of the homeless community to exercise talents and gifts they may not have an opportunity to use elsewhere.

In the production, homeless and nonhomeless people tell each other’sstories of survival and hope.

Actors and homeless are paired up to develop the stories, and tight relationships form throughout the process.

Storyteller Bruce Shaw and Sanders formed such a relationship.

“It’s a safe place to open those boundaries a little bit … and to an extent … restore each other’s humanity by forming common ground,” Shaw said in the film.

And it worked.

While filming, Ramsey said he saw a tremendous amount of change in Sanders.

“I got to see someone’s life change course right in front of me, in real time,” he said. “Lee, as a result of telling the story, realized he needed to put his life back on track.”

According to Ramsey, he is well on his way to integrating back into a better life.

Ramsey hopes to shoot more stories in the future to highlight ArtsBuild’s other CCC programs.

Updated @ 11:53 a.m.on 5/5/14 to correct a typographical error.