Real Stories of Street Homelessness
Sleeping Rough is a community-based film about street homelessness. Using real interviews conducted with members of the homeless community all around the UK, the film is a docudrama that follows three characters and the circumstances that force each of them to sleep on the street. Produced in collaboration with The Big Issue Foundation and Cardboard Citizens, shot on location and with actors with personal experience of homelessness, Sleeping Rough encourages understanding of the real issues that affect those experiencing homelessness and aims to empower people to take a stand.
- Sleeping Rough follows three characters, each on their journey to street homelessness. Jack is an engineer who, through a chain of events, loses his job, his flat, and his family. Catherine is a young woman who moves straight out of care into a flat with her boyfriend, however it soon becomes clear that the relationship is emotionally abusive, and with no-one to turn to, she escapes onto the streets. Eva is an immigrant who, to avoid being deported, accepts a job where she is underpaid, overworked and exploited. Soon, she too decides to escape.
- All the events in the film have been described to us by members of the homeless community; everything that takes place has happened to someone; it’s real. While the events follow a script, all the dialogue is improvised, and was established through a series of rehearsals between Owain Astles, the film’s director, and the film’s cast, most of whom have experience of homelessness themselves. Scenes in the film were shot on location, in shelters and soup kitchens, and on the streets, so the actors were plunged right into the situations they were bringing to life.
- We worked with a number of homeless charities, including The Big Issue Foundation, Cardboard Citizens and St Petrock's, in order to raise awareness of the issues there are, and what's being done to change them. In 2016, we ran a Kickstarter campaign to finance the film, successfully raising over £6,000.
"The film lies at the stable intersection of professional, artistic and political cinema, projecting the voices of those who are ignored and marginalised by society. Sleeping Rough is powerful, moving and truthful, and promises to make an impact." - Gabi Spiro, Epigram
Screenings & Events
This is where we'll include all details of upcoming screenings and events as part of the campaign.
- Shelter & Free Word: The Future of Social Housing
- Preview screening of Sleeping Rough followed by Q&A alongside other films about homelessness.
- 26th November 2019
- Click here for tickets and more info
- Camden Safeguarding Adults Partnership Board
- Screening of Sleeping Rough followed by a Q&A for the Camden Safeguarding Adults Partnership Board.
- A homelessness event day, focusing around safeguarding of homeless adults in Camden and the local area.
- 4th November 2019
- One Festival of Homeless Arts
- Screening of Sleeping Rough followed by a Q&A at One Festival of Homeless Arts 2019
- 16th October 2019
- Click here for more info.
- Who Speaks for the Homeless? Representations of Homelessness on Screen
- Screening of Sleeping Rough alongside other films about homelessness at London College of Communications
- Accompanied by panel discussion around representations of homelessness onscreen
- 12th February 2019
- Click here for more info
- Cardboard Citizens
- YMCA Milton Keynes
- Bedford Homeless Awareness Week 2018
- Vue Cinema, Bedford
- Screening of Sleeping Rough, followed by a Q&A
- 27th Nov 2018
- Click here for more info & tickets
- Bristol Homeless Awareness Week 2018
- Watershed Cinema, Bristol
- Screening of Sleeping Rough, along with a Forum Theatre performance by Many Minds and a Q&A including Owain, the film's director.
- New York University
- Screening of Sleeping Rough plus discussion with students at New York University. Video below.
- King's College London
- Screening of Sleeping Rough plus a Q&A with students from King's College London.
- Lancaster University
- Screening of Sleeping Rough plus a Q&A with students from Students for Global Health at Lancaster University.
- Bristol University
- Screening of Sleeping Rough plus a Q&A with students from Students for Global Health and Bristol Uni Homelessness Society.
- Schools tour
- Screening of the film at various schools in Bristol and the South West, including talks by Owain and educational packs, introducing the themes of the film, different aspects of homelessness and the importance of awareness at a young age.
- The Robes Project fundraising screening
- Private screening of Sleeping Rough to raise money for the Robes Project, a homelessness charity based in Lewisham, London.
- The Salvation Army Logos House
- Private screening of Sleeping Rough to workers and service users in Logos House, a homeless shelter in Bristol.
- Hopeful Traders Screening
- Private screening of Sleeping Rough to raise money for Hopeful Traders, a social arts project and clothing brand that collaborates with the homeless community to raise money for homeless charities.
Behind the scenes
Homelessness is a massive problem in the UK; the number of people sleeping rough has increased by over 100% in just the last 5 years, funding for homeless services has been slashed and every day, more people are finding themselves forced onto the streets. Over the last couple of years, Pastles Productions has undertaken our biggest project to date; collecting interviews from rough sleepers, council members and charity workers from around the UK, in order to create a feature film raising awareness of homelessness.
Back at the beginning of 2016, I ventured out onto the streets of Bristol to make a short documentary about rough sleepers in the UK. In doing so I got stared at, heckled and abused by bystanders however I met some of the most humble, gracious and pleasant people I’ve met in my life. It was a shocking and enjoyable experience at the same time, and I was astonished by the positive response the video got from the homeless community and beyond.
As a result of the response I got from the video, we got to work on a longer film with the intention of further raising awareness of homelessness, the causes of it, what rough sleepers go through on a day-to-day basis, and what we can do to help. The film centres around three characters, looking at the different ways each of them ended up on the streets, and is a dramatisation of interviews held with homeless people, talking about their lives on the street.
Owain, Director of Sleeping Rough
The latest posts & news about Sleeping Rough.
As we say goodbye to Winter and march into Spring, partner organisations across Bristol open their doors to encourage people to think about the community we live in, look out for family and friends and scoop people up before they fall. Bristol Homelessness Awareness Week (February 24- 3 March) aims to raise awareness of homelessness,…
Back in November, we had our first preview for Sleeping Rough, Pastles Productions’ first feature film. We were really lucky to screen at The Big Issue Foundation’s Big Sleep Out at the Oval, London, where film got an amazing reception, and we were stunned by the positive feedback from both members of the public and Big…
Incredibly, it’s exactly a year since we first published our Kickstarter for Sleeping Rough… We’ve come a really long way since then, and it’s entirely thanks to all the support we’ve had throughout the process; from charities, organisations and above all, from you guys, our backers and all the individuals who’ve pushed us to get…
That’s a wrap! After a fairly intense week and all the research we’ve done over the last few months, we’re delighted to say that shooting finished yesterday on our Exeter Phoenix-commissioned film, The Hardest Fight! The whole cast and crew were amazing, and a special thank you goes to Empire Fighting Chance in Bristol for…
Slightly surreal, but today was our last shoot day for Sleeping Rough… It was a tough shoot, sometimes taking some real bravery from cast and crew to pull through, but we did it, and we couldn’t have done it without every single member of the team, from van driver to make up artist, to actors.…
Homeless Awareness Week was a massive success, culminating in the Sleep Out, where over 100 people helped raise more than £10k for various homeless services in Bristol and nationally, including One25, Crisis Centre Ministeries and The Big Issue Foundation. After the Sleep Out, we had a weekend packed full of rehearsals for the film. It…
Cast & Crew
Owain is a young filmmaker and director of Pastles Productions, a film production company that aims to make films raising awareness of social and political issues. Previous work includes KiDS, a short film about bullying in schools, The Hardest Fight, a campaign to raise awareness of links between mental health and boxing and Rife-commissioned Crisis and Hope, a documentary series about homeless charities in Bristol.
Melita’s past experience includes pre-programming and research at Cinegraph and marketing and social media at Crossing The Screen International Film Festival. She founded the International Film Society at the University of Oxford and was an active member of OUDS and Oxide radio. She also spent several months working in a community theatre (Alarm Theater) which led dramatic projects based on real life experiences with refugees, prison inmates and members of the public.
Nolan is a Scottish actor “who loves being an actor”. His two other most recent films were Redcon-1, based on 8 special forces embarked on a suicide mission in a world of the undead, and The Sprint King, based on the life story of famous jockey Dandy Nichols and his unruly horse SOBA, which premiered in London, June 2016.
Sleeping Rough is Elle’s first experience of acting onscreen, having been in a series of theatre productions, including Cardboard Citizens’ adaptations of LandAid and Cathy Come Home (playing the title character).
Meg is an English actress and bodybuilder who is best known for her role as Katie Fitch in the double BAFTA-winning teen drama Skins. Megan was recently cast as Jade Podfer on the British drama show called Holby City and in a horror movie Shortcuts To Hell: Volume 1.
Michael is a young actor from London who’s been involved in several productions with Cardboard Citizens, as well as a number of theatre productions and commercials.
Hayley has also worked extensively with Cardboard Citizens, and was cast in the principal role of 15 year old Danielle in their Forum Theatre tour of Cathy, as well as 2015 TV Movie Is This Rape?.
David is a British Nigerian actor who has worked with Cardboard Citizens over the last few years and makes his film debut in Sleeping Rough.
Have a project in mind?
Contact us today to talk through your project with us.