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Comedian Keith Lowell Jensen wanted to make a film about panhandling. So he did.
“It’s very much a comedy,” Jensen said. “There is a lot of humor, but the panhandlers are never the butt of the joke.”
The DVD release is on Nov. 4 at 8 p.m. at the Crest Theatre at 1013 K Street. Admission is $15 and a copy of the DVD will be included.
“We’ve all heard the urban legend of the panhandler hopping in his nice car and making his way to a comfortable home after a day of begging on the freeway off-ramp,” said Jonathan Morken, producer at Apprehensive Films.
Jensen decided to find out just how hard it really is to make money being a panhandler. He spent countless hours employing every imaginable in attempt to make his fortune.
Jensen said every subject was asked the same interview questions:
Do you believe in the myth of the affluent panhandler?
Do you give to panhandlers?
Should panhandling be protected as a freedom of speech?
Have you ever panhandled?
Do you worry about panhandlers using your money for drugs and alcohol?
Are you more likely to give money to a panhandler with a clever sign or someone playing the sympathy angle?
“This documentary doesn't just cover Jensen’s own personal trails trying to make it on the streets but interviews real panhandlers, homeless people, the police, and even your average citizen,” Morken said.
Morken said filming started about four years ago and that Jensen first came to him with an idea about panhandling over the Internet, trying to get people to pay him through PayPal. Later he came back with his idea about trying to prove or disprove the urban legend that there are panhandlers out there faking it and making a good living begging.
Photos by Jonathan B. Lewis