"Couper Was Here" is about an unhoused San Francisco resident, Couper Oroña. She was a firefighter, injured on the job, and now lives with disabilities. She supports herself on a small monthly disability check. After her injury and a divorce, she could no longer afford an apartment in the Bay Area, and subsequently found herself living on the street.
She’s known by houseless people throughout the city because of the way she looks out for them and advocates for their rights. She uses the skills she practiced as a firefighter to assist fellow encampment residents who don’t seek medical help from hospitals for a variety of reasons, such as feeling shamed or mistreated by hospital staff. “I feel I have a purpose on the street and want to do my part to help out friends and others who don’t have a roof or access to first aid services.” This film follows Couper in her caring for fellow unhoused San Franciscans, and in her quest to find permanent housing in the city.
(Photo: Bethany Herron)
Oakland Short Film Festival
April 2, 2019, 8pm
New Parkway Theater
San Francisco Documentary Film Festival
June 8, 2019, 12:15pm
June 11, 2019, 7pm
Palm Springs International Short Fest
June 20, 2019, 1pm
(Note: No color or sound correction)
Interview with Couper and Jane Kim, former San Francisco Supervisor, District 6
Couper and Jane Kim discuss women living on the street, their walk through encampments, and how Couper taught Jane how to lock up her bike properly.
Couper and Monster
Couper describes experiences of using Narcan on her friends to reverse opioid overdoses.
Couper and Moon
Moon is Couper’s friend and her cat’s “baby daddy.” He describes an injury to his hand, and how Couper has helped him.
Nicole Foley, Director
Nicole is a Creative Director who works on storytelling, brand strategy, design, and video with clients ranging from mission-based startups and nonprofits to corporations.
Storytelling has always come naturally to Nicole. A good listener, she recognizes the wisdom in understanding and identifying what is at the heart of a good story to create the right message.
For the last seven years, she has created videos for non-profits, start-ups, and corporations. Her love of documentaries and increasing focus on social justice issues led her to work on topics closer to her heart. Nicole was inspired to show the humanity of homeless people after reading a particularly cold open letter to San Francisco’s then-Mayor Ed Lee by an individual who felt visually inconvenienced by them. She continues to work on topics of injustice, transformation, and the resilience of the human spirit. She lives in San Francisco.
(Photo: Emily Raw)
Director and Executive Producer: Nicole Foley
Producer: Evan Mueller
Cinematographers: Helena Gonzalez, Megan Hague, Eric Herron, Anna Karewicz
Camera Operators: Kelley Cutler, Nicole Foley, Peter Menchini, Evan Mueller
Editors: Eric Herron, Evan Mueller
Sound Engineer: Bethany Herron
Sound Design and Re-recording: Jeremiah Moore
Animator: Adrian Martinez
Colorist: Jack Chavez
Story advisors: David Byars, JR Foley, Sandra Salas, Sharon Wood
Have questions about the film? Connect with us.