Empress Hotel

Empress Hotel
(85 min) USA
[watch trailer]
[buy tickets]

Thursday, 10/25, 8:00pm (Session XXV)

Director: Allie Light and Irving Saraf
Producer: Roberta Goodman 


Empress Hotel is a documentary that reveals the human face of homelessness. The Empress, a ninety-unit permanent supportive housing model providing on-site social and medical services, is an environment where residents are able to take hard-won steps toward stability. The film gives unusual access into the everyday lives of those who fell through the cracks of the social services system, focusing on the stories of ten residents. Though similarly fraught by mental health, medical and substance abuse issues, these lives represent a remarkable diversity of experiences, socioeconomic backgrounds and personalities. This documentary creates awareness of a part of our society that is overlooked and fosters an appreciation of the tremendous challenge it poses to individuals, as well as the staff, who support them. Empress Hotel offers a rare opportunity to witness the daily struggles and rewards involved in beginning anew, creating community, and possibly transforming a life.


Irving Saraf, winner of the 1991 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for In The Shadow Of The Stars and winner of the National Emmy Award for Dialogues With Madwomen, both with Allie Light, has a BA in motion pictures from the University of California at Los Angeles. He works in fiction and documentary film as producer, director, and editor with over 150 films to his credit, mostly made for TV. Saraf was founder and former head of the KQED-TV film unit and former manager of the Saul Zaentz Production Company. During his tenure with Zaentz, Saraf produced a score of films and was post-production supervisor of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.

Allie Light, winner of the 1991 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and the 1994 National Emmy Award for best interview program, writes, directs, and produces documentary films with her partner, Irving Saraf. Light has published a book of poems, The Glittering Cave and edited an anthology of women's writings, Poetry From Violence. She lectured in film at City College of San Francisco and for ten years in the women studies program at San Francisco State University. She has also served on the media advisory panel for the National Endowment for the Arts and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Contact Information:

Light-Saraf Films
E-mail: rberta6580@sbcglobal.net
Web site: www.lightsaraffilms.com/

©2012 United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF)

Axis of Light
The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement
Beneath the Blindfold
Bidder 70
Blank Canvas
Buffalo Girls
California State of Mind: The Legacy of Pat Brown
Call Me Kuchu
Captive Radio
Catherine the Great
Color Blind
The Crime of Boris Pasternak
Day in Our Bay: Voices & Views From Bristol Bay
A Day in the Water Life
A Declaration of Interdependence
Difficult Love
Doctors of the Dark Side
Don Severo del Puente
Empress Hotel
A Flicker in Eternity
Going Up the Stairs
Greedy Lying Bastards
Hazaribagh, Toxic Leather
Herman's House
Imagining Emanuel
In Short Supply: Small Farmers and the Struggle to Deliver Healthy Food to Your Plate
Irena Sendler: In the Name of Their Mothers
Journey of a Red Fridge
Karama Has No Walls
Little Mom
The Lord Is Not On Trial Here Today
Love Free or Die
The Loving Story
Mexican Cuisine
The Mexican Suitcase
Mrs. Judo: Be Strong, Be Gentle, Be Beautiful
Not My Life
Nothing Like Chocolate
Opium Brides
Portrait of Wally
Rainman Goes to RocKwiz
Rebels With a Cause
The Red Button
Sacred Stones
Scarlet Road
Semper Fi: Always Faithful
Sing Your Song
Smoke Songs
State of Control
Surviving Progress
Ten Quintillion
Thirty Years of War in the Name of God
This Space Available
Through Her Eyes
Tokyo Waka: A City Poem
Transgenders: Pakistan's Open Secret
Undocumented Dreams
We Still Live Here
Weathering Change
The Well: Water Voices From Ethiopia
Where Soldiers Come From
White and Black: Crimes of Color
A Wild Idea
Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up
Words of Witness

Traveling Festival
Special Screenings
Mailing List / Facebook
If you would like to receive periodic updates about UNAFF events, please click HERE to join our mailing list.


Support UNAFF!
We are a nonprofit organization and if you like what we do, please consider making a donation.