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‘The Road Up’ explores how some overcome addiction, homelessness, prison with the help of Cara

CHICAGO (WLS) — “The Road Up” follows four Chicagoans on their journey from struggling with addiction, homelessness and prison to independence with the help of a transformative program called Cara.

“I’ve been doing this for going on 18 years now, and I Have truly seen miracles happen, human beings’ lives being transformed,” said Jesse Teverbaugh, Cara director of student and alumni affairs. “For a long time we thought if we just threw a paycheck at someone, all their problems and everything would be alright, and they would ride off into the sunset and everything would be fine, but that’s not the case.”

Directors Jon Siskel and Greg Jacobs found a film in the program.

“We’re totally blown away by what we saw, people sharing their stories, sharing in this incredibly supportive community,” Siskel said. “They’ve had real difficult roads and to see them persevere and get through that and triumph, it was really powerful to be there with them, to celebrate those with them.”

It wasn’t always easy to make the documentary. There were obstacles.

“These are people who were living in shelters, these are people who had a phone and had their phones disconnected, so staying in contact, staying connected over two years was probably the biggest challenge,” Siskel said.

If Siskel’s name sounds familiar, you’re not mistaken. His uncle was the late Gene Siskel, legendary movie critic who reviewed films with Roger Ebert.

“I think he would love the film, but I know that because of my involvement it would be very special,” his nephew said. “I wish we could have shared it with him.”

“The Road Up” debuts at the ChiTown Movies Drive-In in Pilsen on Saturday night, as part of the Chicago Film Festival.