Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

Advocate’s redemptive story to be told in film

- By Brian Whitehead

Before she became a philanthro­pist, advocate and all-around dynamo, Kim Carter was “Pepcy.”

Pepcy is on drugs, Carter said this week, using present tense to describe past addictions.

Pepcy is going to prison.

She’s homeless.

Kim, on the other hand, is amazing, Carter said. Transforma­tive.

“Bold in her advocacy,” she said, “and willing to step out and do things contrary to being popular.”

Pepcy and Kim will be featured on the silver screen in the near future.

Carter, who founded the Time for Change Foundation in 2002, will be portrayed by Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson in “Pepcy & Kim,” a project based on Carter’s life directed by Academy Award winner Taraji P. Henson.

“Sometimes I can be overly blessed, blessed to where I’m in a position I never would’ve asked God to give me that,” Carter said Wednesday. “Give me a new car, get my credit right, but I don’t be asking to be on no big screen. I would never think to ask God that, and that’s how you know it’s truly a blessing, because this had nothing to do with my skills or ability to make it happen.

“People have dreams to do all types of things,” Carter said, “and I’m living in someone else’s dream right now.”

A former addict living without a home in San Bernardino, Los Angeles and San Francisco counties, Carter spent the better part of a dozen years — from ages 18 to 30 — in and out of prisons and jails.

In the past, Carter has credited a stint in a rehabilita­tion program for turning her life around. She became an accountant, and in 2002 founded Time for Change Foundation in San Bernardino to help women transition from homelessne­ss and incarcerat­ion to self-sufficienc­y.

In addition to helping more than 1,700 women reclaim their lives, the nonprofit, which Carter expanded into the Bay Area in 2018, also has reunited more than 300 foster children with their mothers.

“It all changed with Time for Change Foundation,” Carter, whom CNN named a Top 10 Hero in 2015, said. “People are to be reminded that no matter how far on the scale you’ve gone, there is a comeback, a way up and out. We continue to use our experience­s and platform to shed light to other women that it’s not over, that you can come out of abusive relationsh­ips, homelessne­ss, incarcerat­ion and build a better life.

“I’m living beyond my wildest imaginatio­n,” Carter added. “I have been so overpaid that I’m afraid to not continue to do this work to help other women.”

About three years ago, writer and “Thirteen” director Catherine Hardwicke approached Carter after seeing a CNN clip chroniclin­g her journey.

Carter, who in 2017 received a pardon from thenGov. Jerry Brown’s office and the parole board, had drawn interest from Hollywood before, she said, but oncepromis­ing opportunit­ies always vanished as quickly as they appeared.

Neverthele­ss, Carter opened up to Hardwicke, sharing a few of her lifechangi­ng experience­s. While Hardwicke expressed interest in writing a script about Carter, she still had to find financing and complete other tasks to get the project greenlit.

But she liked her chances. Then, nothing.

“I let it go as Hollywood is Holly-weird,” Carter said.

It wasn’t until early last month that Hardwicke emailed Carter with the news her project had been given the go-ahead and would be included in a seven-part anthology made by and about women called “Tell It Like A Woman,” produced by the Los Angelesbas­ed nonprofit film production company We Do It Together.

And, Carter learned, someone else would assume directoria­l duties.

“I met Taraji on Zoom, in a meeting, and I’m there pinching myself,” Carter recalled. “I’m truly a fan and probably a groupie too. Oh my God, I was tickled to death. Every time she called me I’d be giddy, like a girl meeting a guy she likes for the first time.”

In an ensuing Zoom meeting, Henson asked Carter which actress she wanted to portray her.

“Whoever God wants you to,” Carter recalled responding.

“Next Zoom, I look up,” Carter said, “and there’s Jennifer Hudson.”

Within two weeks, Carter was in Burbank, on the set of “Pepcy & Kim,” watching two Oscar winners tell her life story.

“We laughed, we cried, we hugged, healed,” Carter said. “It was one amazing situation. All amazing.”

“Pepcy & Kim” was the last segment of the “Tell It Like A Woman” anthology to wrap filming.

Other segments star Eva Longoria, Cara Delevingne, Margherita Buy and Marcia Gay Harden.

A release date has not been announced.

“I’m a San Bernardino hometown girl that’s not just made it big, but made it possible for others to do so too,” Carter said. “The more I help other people, the more I’m being rewarded for it. That’s the whole kick behind this whole thing, I’m being blessed because I’m being a blessing.”

 ?? COURTESY PHOTO ?? Time for Change Foundation founder Kim Carter, left, Andrea Iervolino, Taraji P. Henson and Jennifer Hudson gather on the set of “Pepcy & Kim,” a film about Carter’s life journey from inmate and addict to advocate.
COURTESY PHOTO Time for Change Foundation founder Kim Carter, left, Andrea Iervolino, Taraji P. Henson and Jennifer Hudson gather on the set of “Pepcy & Kim,” a film about Carter’s life journey from inmate and addict to advocate.

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