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May 10, 2016 4:22 PM ET

Archived: Quiet Storms of Reform: Documentary film about ending America’s homelessness

iCrowdNewswire - May 10, 2016

About The Project

My ultimate aim is to go beyond preaching to the choir and arm the choir, thus equipping the engaged public with the knowledge of best practices and tangible models that work. 


Changes of collaboration in service providers and  our courts, healthcare, behavioral health and foster care are having a positive impact on homelessness in the Houston area.  These changes, occurring in the heart of red state Texas, represent the changes needed nationally.

As of the Spring of 2016, 22 state legislatures are developing laws to add means test to public assistance, highlighting the wicked problem American society faces today.


The approach to making this documentary includes having two or three video cameras operating at the same time.  One camera will have wireless mic sound on the primary subject and will be running the longest at an event.  The other two will turn on upon direction to capture as much detail of a given moment.  DeSoto’s experience as a newspaper street photographer will guide the production work.



Ben Tecumseh DeSoto

April 14, 2016

The narrative has a historic note for today. Our project is set to document the reforms in our healthcare, foster care and criminal justice systems. One of our narratives is about the Girls Court, Mike Schneider and Judge Angela Ellis. Judge Mike hinted at the news last night.

Harris County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council announce a MacArthur Foundation grant of $2 million to reduce jail population and improve local justice system. Harris County Houston was the only grant in Texas, one of eleven across the country.


Architects of change; Judge Mike Schneider, County Commissioner Gene Locke, , Sheriff Ron Hickman, District Attorney Devon Anderson, part of a much larger Harris County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.
They are smiling at the end of a press conference announcing a MacArthur Foundation grant of $2 million to reduce jail population and improve local justice system.
Harris County Houston was the only grant in Texas, one of eleven across the country. (We got personal invite for ride-a-long on new outreach program.)


Current Team


About This Team

Ben Tecumseh DeSoto – Producer, Director

Ben Tecumseh DeSoto is a veteran photojournalist.  During his 25 years at the Houston Chronicle, he documented the poor through dozens of photo essays. That work was the foundation for the Understanding Poverty Project, a Houston Endowment supported grant updating an exhibit report and reporting the connection between chronic homelessness and post-traumatic stress disorders. The photo exhibit debuted at Diverse Works in 2008.


In creating this documentary, DeSoto is fusing four disciplines and values: journalist, artist, anthropologist, and humanitarian. Unlike a scientist who remains objective and apart in order not to disturb the specimen under examination, or the journalist’s dilemma to document the subject without intervention in their circumstances, the Quiet Storms team is challenged with helping Benjamin White, Judy Pruitt, and Antoinette Pruitt tell their life stories AND helping them access resources to improve their circumstance.  Some days are spent helping them get to doctor’s appointments and places to apply for help, other days he shows them how to make POV videos.  Managing extant research material (letters, notes, photographs) spanning three decades of the core narratives makes the work as much anthropology ethnology as photojournalism.  


Co-Director, Co-Producer Julye Newlin

Julye Newlin brings a love of photography and filmmaking and two decades of experiences as a freelance videographer. A Masters degree in Communications has refined a storytelling style balancing compassion, reason and human understanding with technical expertise as director, editor, and producer.



Newlin joins South Coast Film and Video in collaborating on The Quiet Storms of Reform.  


Torry Mercer – Assistant Director, Writer, Composer

Torry is a political philosopher, historian, writer, teacher, documentary filmmaker, poet, songwriter, and composer. Torry has been a lifelong activist working to counter US foreign policy and assist low-income people of color.  Started Food Not Bombs in Houston.  FNB is a loose-knit group of all-volunteer independent collectives sharing free vegan meals in public places to anyone who is hungry in order to call attention to poverty and homelessness.

Torry writes short stories and screenplays, is working on a documentary film about Direct Democracy, and lends his quill to other screenwriters as a script doctor. Has been in numerous bands including punk, klezmer, world beat, Americana, prog, and folk, and is a multi-instrumentalist. His most recent musical projects are the bands Anarchitex and Deconstruction Crew.




Deborah Grotfeldt- Executive Producer, Development Director

Grotfeldt is a seasoned nonprofit leader with 30 years of proven, hands-on experience at the intersection of art and community: project concept and implementation from start-up to maturity, fund raising, administration, and financial reporting.  Based in Houston, Texas, she has been involved in the arts and philanthropic community for over thirty year at Diverse Works Art Space, Project Row Houses, and others. Nationally, she’s developed and funded projects in Los Angeles, East St. Louis, West Philadelphia, and Detroit. Deborah recently concluded a seven-year stint as Advancement Director for Houston Public Media, raising funds for KUHF News, Classical 91.7, and Houston PBS. Grotfeldt had the privilege of working with Ben DeSoto at Diverse Works during the 1992 installation of his Understanding Poverty Project.  For The Quiet Storms of Reform, she will spearhead fundraising and administration of funds and collaborate on project management at all stages.


South Coast Film & Video:  Picture and Sound Editors

SCFV is a Houston, Texas-based full service HDTV production company. Established in 1980, the nine-person staff covers every aspect from project management to final post-production.  QStorms will be working closely with Founder/President, Everett Gorel, a director and cinematographer who has shot and directed hundreds of commercials, documentaries, and corporate programs. He has received national grants for various film projects, serves on advisory boards for college film and video departments, and is a Silver Council member of the Telly Awards.  Senior Editor, Marco DuBose, has spent a career developing an editing philosophy – a philosophy based on pictures telling stories and editors listening. He was involved in early work for MTV, Apple Computer’s first multimedia shows, and helping develop the “infotainment” genre. Kevin Vinther, AVID Editor, developed a passion over the past twenty years for integrating the mechanical precision of technology with the humanity of communicating a vision. Michael Bell is a production manager with 15 years experience in all aspects of this industry.

Contact Information:

Ben Tecumseh DeSoto

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