Lead Me Home

  • Pedro Kos, Jon Shenk
  • United States
  • 2021
  • 40 min
  • International Premiere
  • Frontlight

While glass apartment complexes mushroom from the ground, the homeless roll up their tents and brush their teeth at the edge of a busy highway. Contrasts such as this one repeatedly pinpoint the prosperity gap and give an impression of homeless life in three major U.S. cities.

There are big holes in the social safety net in America. Shot over three years in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle, this film presents portraits of people who slipped through those holes. They talk about how they ended up on the streets, and the sometimes Kafkaesque challenges they face trying to get off them. The sheer scope of those stories breaks through stereotypical assumptions about homeless people and sheds light on the underlying social issues.

In between the drone shots and time lapses, Lead Me Home is a compassionate portrait of a scattered community connected by what they lack. When asked what they need most, the almost unanimous answer is “a home.”


  • 40 min
  • color
  • DCP
Pedro Kos, Jon Shenk
Bonni Cohen for Actual Films, Serin Marshall for Runaway Films, Richard Berge
Executive producer
Jannat Gargi, Jody Allen, Ruth Johnston, Rocky Collins, Nancy Blachman, Jamie Wolf
Jon Shenk
Pedro Kos, Don Bernier

IDFA history

International Premiere

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IDFA history

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