WATERVILLE — One of the popular films at this past summer’s Maine International Film Festival, “Shoe Shine Caddie,” is set to be screened at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, at the Maine Film Center at 93 Main St., as a fundraiser for Starfish Village Ministry.

The film documents a 14-month journey of Adrian Spears, a 61-year-old African American man, who after decades of being incarcerated is free and living on the streets. Because of his criminal record, and lack of skills and education, gainful employment has proven next to impossible.

Unwilling to beg for a living, he discovers the art of shoe shining, which he claims “most probably saved my life.” One morning, while shining shoes on a street corner, he receives a call from the Los Angeles Department of Social Services informing him he is the father of a 3-year-old child. Stunned by the news, he reflects on his previous failures as a father for his other three children who are now grown. He decides this time he’ll do the right thing. The battle to gain custody of his young daughter changes his life forever, according to a news release from Nancy Sanford, who sponsored the MIFF showing.

Filmmaker Leonard Manzella has strong feelings about the political and social circumstances that have led to the homeless crisis the country is facing. But he didn’t want to preach or make any statements with the film.

“Instead, I wanted to tell the story of one man who is homeless,” said Manzella. “I hope people can hear his story, witness his struggle, and experience him as an individual trying to survive like all of us. I want people to watch the film and make up their own minds on what to take away.”

“Leonard Manzella delivers a poignant message about the inhumanity of homelessness,” said Sanford. “He does this through following Adrian Spears’s struggles, resiliency, and sparkling spirit. I left the theater with a smile on my face and an uplifted heart.”


Manzella has chosen not to release the film commercially, instead offering it for education, discussion and fundraising. Knowing this, Sanford, who is also a member of the advisory committee for Starfish Village Ministry, requested a screening of the film in order to raise money for outreach efforts with poor and unhoused people here in Waterville. Not only did he agree, but he and Spears have recorded an interview with Sanford that will be shown at the event.

Seats for the show can be reserved by visiting watervilleucc.org. The suggested minimum donation is $20. Tickets for a 50/50 raffle can also be purchased using that webpage and on the night of the event Starfish Village Ministry is an outreach of Waterville United Church of Christ, serving and advocating for those in the community who have been marginalized.

For more information, contact Sanford at 207-249-9808 or nancys@gwi.net.


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