Celebrity highlights librarians in movie

By Juan Ibarra/campus editor

From The Breakfast Club to Young Guns, actor, producer and director Emilio Estevez has had a wide breadth of work in his career. His newest project, The Public, was shown to a select audience hosted by TR Campus.

On Feb. 22, a private screening of Estevez’s new film, The Public, was held at The Modern Museum of Art along with a 30-minute question and answer session with the director and Ryan Dowd, author of Librarian’s Guide to Homelessness. The film will release in theaters later this spring.

Photo by Joseph Serrata/The Collegian
Actor and director Emilio Estevez takes questions from TCC students and staff at the showing of his new movie, The Public. Photo by Joseph Serrata/The Collegian

The Public follows the story of a Cincinnati public library during a cold front and the homeless patrons who use the library as shelter for the cold every day.

TR Campus president Sean Madison gave an opening speech thanking the librarians for all the work they do that is never represented.

“They do more than just answer questions,” he said. “They change lives.”

Homelessness is one of the large themes throughout the movie, but it also touches upon librarians and the work they do.

“I’d like people to have a better understanding for what you [librarians] do,” Estevez said. “You are the first responders. You are in the trenches, and you’re doing a lot of the unsung jobs.”

Libraries provide a place to be when it’s too cold outside, and they help to keep homeless men, women and children safe. Estevez wanted to use the film to emphasize the important role librarians play in society.

“I’m in an industry that celebrates heroes and creates superheroes and they’re not real,” he said. “I think we have a very twisted idea of what heroism looks like in this country.”

While the TCC screening was for the librarians, Estevez said they have also been screening the film for organizations such as the National Coalition of Homelessness. There is hope that bringing this movie into the eyes of the people will be represented and treated like a “thank you,” he said.

Dowd also spoke about homelessness and its scale.

“The number of publicly available spaces where you don’t have to purchase the right to be there is shrinking in our country,” Dowd said. “The library is one of the last places where you can just go and be.”

Apart from the programs and services a library offers, it gives people a place to be comfortable.

Everyone can go to the library whether they’re homeless or middle class or wealthy. Everyone being able to blend together and coexist within a shared space is part of the allure and value that a library has, he said.

This project may appear to be random when put up against the filmography of Estevez, but having a deeper subject matter and something with more substance was the reason behind creating this passion project.

“I’ve made a lot of crap,” Estevez said, “About 20 years ago, I got to a place where I said, ‘I’m going to make movies that matter, I’m gonna make movies that cost me something. I’m going to create art for the first time in my life because I have the opportunity to do that.’”