In quoting others, we cite ourselves.Julio Cortázar
The Untold project began as a mission to give a storytelling platform to people whose narratives are often forgotten by traditional media.
It blossomed into a documentary-style film series that invited individuals to share their untold stories – the stories that many people ignore or hide.
Participants were simply asked to share a story they’ve never told before. Unprompted, all of them told stories about themselves.
Everyone interviewed began as a complete stranger – but they all shared deeply personal stories. Perhaps the invitation to speak freely, with no expectation of topic or formality, made participants feel comfortable enough to share things that they wouldn’t share with people they already know.
The Story of Untold
The Untold documentary interview film project began with the intention of giving a story-telling platform to homeless and food-insecure Dallasites by allowing them to document their experiences. However, it evolved in scope to allow anyone with an untold story – homeless or not – the opportunity to be documented and heard.
It was born from pre-COVID Saturday morning breakfasts at the historic downtown Dallas Cathedral of Hope, where hundreds of Dallasites – especially homeless, food-insecure, and otherwise isolated community members – met each week at a huge, free community restaurant-style brunch and shared tables and stories with people from all walks of life.
Film students Jules Vincent Rosen and Haley Ziomek – the creators of this project – both attended the breakfasts, and we both got different things out of them. More than anything, we felt the uniquely human need to share and connect and tell stories. Perhaps even more than that, we saw – hundreds of times over – the impact of the sharp sting of loneliness when nobody is there to listen.
Above Image courtesy of Dallas Hope Charities
The mainstream media is not there to listen. Mainstream and popular media has a tendency of ignoring the stories shared by marginalized, underprivileged people, which perpetuates mainstream society’s tendency to discount the value or worthiness of those stories. Our goal in creating Untold was to give often-ignored people a platform to share stories that mattered to them – stories that go untold.
So each Saturday, we set out at 6 AM with a camera, a microphone, and a flimsy plastic sign Sharpie-scrawled with the words “TELL YOUR STORY”.
The Stories People Shared
Our original focus was on the homeless population of Dallas. However, as we began filming, we found that the offer of an ear to listen – or perhaps, of an opportunity to be heard – attracted individuals from all walks of life. Strangers approached us timidly and boldly, without solicitation, asking if they, too, could share their story.
Before opening up, almost every participant began by asking “What does the story have to be about?”
The answer was, “Anything you want to share with someone else.”
As you will see in the video interviews, every single participant without fail responded to the open-ended “anything you want to share with someone else” by sharing a personal story – by sharing themself.
Participants told stories of love, of betrayal, of addiction, of death, of new beginnings, of parenthood. They told stories about growth and of withering, about loving families and abusive families and absent families. They spoke about friendship, and failure, and the elation of connecting with another soul. They shared stories of faith and of disbelief, of logic and of passion, and of fear and bravery and hope.
Mostly, they told stories of being human.
Helpers and Organizations that Made Untold Possible
Untold was largely made possible thanks to the help of the downtown Dallas Cathedral of Hope.
For more on the Cathedral of Hope and how they not only inspired and sponsored the Untold project, but also how they lift up the Dallas community and advocate for homeless, housing-insecure, and food-insecure individuals, click one of the buttons below.
Note: several participants in the Untold project discussed various religious beliefs in their stories.
All beliefs discussed by participants are their own, and not affiliated with Untold.
The Untold project is areligious and does not endorse any religious beliefs.