The Empress Hotel, in San Francisco’s Tenderloin, is home to a rarified clientele—sufferers of mental illness or addiction who have lived on the streets. Not every person can stay on meds or get clean, yet out of chaos and hopelessness, a community is formed. The film tells the stories of ten of the residents. Lynn, holder of an M.S. from MIT, reenacts her life on the street. Paul, once a successful publisher, describes the spirits that now control his body and Eddie talks about his anger, the violence in his life and his many arrests. Jeffrey, Sonja and Margarit reveal their battles with addiction and Rene’s fight against mental illness. Action moves from the hotel to the streets of the Tenderloin to provide insight into the lives of homeless people and what drives their demons and addictions.
Empress Hotel is co-produced by Irving Saraf, Allie Light and Roberta Goodman.