Sponsored Project

A DocumenTree

Michael Angelo
Keirda Bahruth, Gretchen Landau

A spiritual missionary in the form of a 10-foot tree asks us to explore human nature and the survival of our species, but in the end he must contend with his own survival and past. Lionel Powell grew up in the Marcy Projects of Brooklyn surrounded by gangs, drugs and violence. As a boy he found refuge in the unconditional love of animals and insects. As a man he searched for happiness through religion, family and the arts, eventually becoming estranged from his family living homeless in Venice Beach.

Escaping with childlike abandon into the creation of original stilt characters he created Treeman, a beloved public figure uniquely able to create common ground with strangers. Volunteering his time with the public and at events for social change, he survived thanks to others who fed and sometimes housed him.

But when gentrification comes to Venice Lionel is unable to survive. Realizing to help others he must first help himself, he enrolls in Homeless Bridge programs to obtain services, housing and employment. As he attempts to break a 20-year cycle of homelessness, reunite with family and reconcile his past, we share his journey so other homeless citizens can benefit from his story.

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