Private Project

Food Broker: Doris

As a black lady at the age of 90, Doris Presley utilizes a uniquely personal approach to feeding homeless people, rather than treating them like problems to be solved.

Doris Presley does not view homelessness as a statistic.

Doris spent her youth along the train tracks of Arizona where her mother welcomed hobos on route to California into their home for a hot meal, medical aid, and pleasant company. The absence of a home was not sinful or dirty. Every traveler in Doris’ childhood had a face, a story, a future. Doris’ mother instilled in her a belief in the sanctity of hospitality, and Doris has spent the past 70 years honoring that great tradition.

At age 90, Doris continues to work tirelessly to provide a home for people who are in need of one. She understands that shelter, although important, is only a “home” in the most basic sense, and founded Doris Cares to offer a more personal solution to homelessness. Doris dreams of being able to provide food, clothing, housing, medical care, and most importantly, empathy to those who are housing insecure. She will never slow her fight before her dream becomes a reality.

Food Broker: Doris is a character study that chronicles Doris’ ambition of feeding and caring for homeless people throughout Los Angeles while overcoming her own disability and lack of resources.

  • Doris Presley
    Key Cast
  • Lo Lam
  • Emily Kalish
  • Justine Suh
  • Lo Lam
  • Emily Kalish
  • Lo Lam
  • Justine Suh
  • Emily Kalish
    Sound Designer
  • Peter Lam
  • Enrico Targetti
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Genres:
    drama, bittersweet
  • Runtime:
    13 minutes 7 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    February 28, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    20,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    A7ii, RED
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • San Francisco Documentary Festival
    San Francisco
    United States
    June 4, 2022
    World Premiere
    Official Selection
  • UCLAxFilmFest 2023
    Los Angeles
    United States
    November 1, 2023
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Justine Suh, Lo Lam

Director/Producer bios:

Emily Kalish, Justine Suh, and Lo Lam are a team of filmmakers who graduated from USC School of Cinematic Arts in 2018.

Emily is filmmaker born in New Jersey and currently based in Sacramento. She received her BA in Culture and Media from The New School in 2015 and founded Verlaine Pictures in 2019. She is a photographer and cinematographer of a gentle personality.

Justine is a film director/editor. She was born in Indiana, but has since lived in Vancouver, New York, and Seoul. She got her BA in History with a minor in Dramatic Literature at NYU. She thrives to make whimsical fiction films and inspiring documentary films.

Lo is a commercial writer/director from Hong Kong. Lo worked extensively in Taiwan's digital commercial industry, writing and directing up to 15 spots. With a sunny, never-give-up personality, Lo strives to make creative and visionary content with unconventional ideas.

Links to prior work:

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Who deserves to be seen? Who is worth our time? As filmmakers, we actively grapple with these questions. There is a deep significance to deciding who becomes a public face and who will remain closed away and out of sight.

Food Broker: Doris turns the camera towards someone who is far from others shown on a silver screen. Doris Presley is neither well known nor regarded as particularly successful, but we decided to look at her for a simple reason: she never looked away.

For over 50 years, Doris has been providing meals to homeless people throughout Los Angeles. She actively sought out those who society had forgotten and devoted her life to them. Despite being elderly, a woman of color, and disabled, Doris has never once faltered in her mission; not even the pandemic has stopped her from answering the call of those in need.

We truly hope that everyone takes inspiration from Doris to find even the smallest ways to help others. Good deeds should not be scarce and unnoticed.

Now we ask the audience: Who catches your attention when your eyes flit between others on the street? Will you look away?