The Right to Exist

A thought-provoking documentary about homelessness.

The Right To Exist is a thought-provoking forthcoming documentary from Watkins Productions. Filmed over the course of several years in the small Florida town of Pensacola, the documentary takes on homelessness through the lens of Satoshi Forest, a new kind of approach to homelessness that kept Escambia County government officials scratching their heads.

The film follows homeless advocate Michael Kimbrel from 2015 through 2020 as he and accomplices work around the clock fighting a broken system trying to create a better world, all while facing unexpected opposition from the government.

Local politics drive the conflict of the film, but the story tackles big questions about homelessness along the way, and also takes a tender look at punk and DIY subcultures doing anti-poverty work off-the-beaten-path. The story may be local, but its themes are universal.

Liz met Michael Kimbrel in 2011 during Occupy Pensacola while driving home from an interview for a different project. An unlikely friendship began and in 2013 Michael founded Satoshi Forest. Liz wanted to produce a documentary on this new kind of approach to helping the homeless.

In 2015 when Escambia County continued attempting to close the Satoshi Forest camp down, Liz picked her camera back up, effectively postponing her retirement for the sake of documenting the truth. She interviewed Satoshi Forest residents, followed Michael’s endless work, and filmed meeting after meeting of local government officials’ attempts to shut Satoshi Forest down.

Five years later and Satoshi is a thriving asset to Pensacola’s community. Michael’s goal of assisting the homeless with a temporary encampment has been nothing short of a success.
Discover how a punk rocker and a land-use attorney outsmarted Escambia County officials, and more importantly dozens of homeless persons have found permanent homes.