Yaz Canli’s Directorial Debut, “My Home Unknown,” Inspires Industry Icons to Impact Invest: Social Cause Feature Film Premieres in Hollywood
It’s rare that a whole team of legendary film and music professionals get behind a first-time director to help create an independent film for no budget.
Such is the case with Yaz Canli’s directorial debut of “My Home Unknown,” produced by Diane Foster, founder of WallyBird Productions.
Canli, who is also writer and producer, plays the lead “Mina”—in a powerful performance that takes audiences on a raw and unflinching journey—as she battles mental illness, survives life on the streets and discovers the courage to find her way home.
It’s precisely because of this narrative film’s eye-opening perspective of a woman’s journey with schizophrenia while experiencing homelessness, that attracted the sights of legendary movie producer Lawrence Kassanof.
The Visionaries Behind “My Home Unknown”
What sets “My Home Unknown” apart is not just its moving story, but also the dedicated team behind its creation.
This film marks the feature directorial debut of Yaz Canli, a Turkish-German writer-director-actor known for her ability to portray complex narratives with authenticity.
Diane Foster, a multi-award-winning director-producer-actor, played a pivotal role as a producer, leaving her indelible mark on the film. She also plays the role of “Tonya,” one of the many fascinating and kind characters that Mina encounters along the way.
The film’s production team is equally impressive, with industry heavyweights like Lawrence Kasanoff (“Terminator 2,” “True Lies,” “Mortal Kombat”), Grammy and Oscar winner Jimmy Ienner, and prolific music producer Michael Lloyd of “Dirty Dancing” fame, lending their expertise to the project.
Canli and Foster first got Hollywood Blockbuster-Action producer Lawrence Kasanoff to come on as Executive Producer—due to his passion and belief in the project and its subject matter.
Kasanoff in turn got his entire team—VFX, sound, editorial, the music geniuses behind “Dirty Dancing”—to work for just points, because he and everyone else were so supportive of the cause.
“I’m interested in impact investing—investing for profit and social responsibility—in filmmaking…All the effects team in Nepal at Incessant Rain; Jimmy Ienner and I as Executive Producers; the post team at Arsenal and Threshold Studios; our editors; and so forth, worked for only backend and the cause,” Kasanoff says
He adds, “The idea is, we all hope the movie scores like ‘Coda’…but even if we make no money but positively impact how people view those who are experiencing homelessness, we win.”
A Deep Dive Into the Reality of Homelessness
‘My Home Unknown’ does not steer away from difficult topics as it tackles homelessness head-on. It reveals a soul-stirring portrayal by Canli that is deeply affecting, yet not often seen on screen. The film takes pride in weaving together poignant moments through masterful storytelling and unforgettable performances from its impressive cast, which will surely make it memorable for audiences worldwide.
Many of the standout cast members are recognizable from film and TV, including: Jesse C. Boyd, Junes Zahdi, Lisa Blake Richards, Michael Marc Friedman, Alvaro Orlando, Marie Broderick, Kofi Boakye, Richard-John Seikaly, Miles Cooper, Anouar H. Smaine, Yücel Yeltekin, Najia Zahdi, Daria Isabella and Teresa Carillo.
This upcoming movie is currently the only movie portraying a woman experiencing homelessness—a narrative that unfolds against the sprawling backdrop of Los Angeles, including renowned locations like Skid Row.
It gives viewers an in-depth look at the trials and tribulations of an often marginalized group, challenging societal preconceptions and igniting much-needed discussions about mental health and homelessness.
This film distinguishes itself by tackling these issues head-on, shedding light on these often-ignored aspects of society.
The talents of First AD Liana Montemayor, Sound/Editor/Co-star Miles Cooper and Cinematographer Phillip James Greenbaum are just a few of the incredible team members that brought Canli’s vision into reality.
Unprecedented Grassroots Support
The film’s resonance with its subject matter has attracted endorsements and support from several grassroots organizations. Reputable non-profits such as the Downtown Women’s Center, The United Way LA, The Mike Curb Foundation and the McLean Hospital are backing the film, highlighting its potential to spur social change.
Canli says, “We have a global crisis on our hands. There are 100 million people experiencing homelessness in the world, yet, when was the last time you looked a person experiencing homelessness in the eye?”
She adds, “We are all humans that breathe air, eat and sleep. We are all someone’s daughter, sibling or friend. We all have a name. It was this thought that inspired this film and our tagline, ‘Compassion begins when we don’t look away.’”
The premiere is expected to attract a diverse audience, ranging from ardent cinema lovers to advocates for social change. The event promises to offer viewers an unforgettable cinematic experience while simultaneously shining a spotlight on the pressing issue of homelessness.
“My Home Unknown” is set for its World Premiere on Wednesday, June 28th at the Dances With Films festival at the TCL Chinese Theatres in Hollywood.
To get involved or learn more about the film, visit: wallybirdproductions.com/my-home-unknown