Twenty years after the House of Commons promised “to eliminate poverty among Canadian children,” 8-year-old Isaiah is trying hard to grow up healthy, smart and well adjusted despite the odds stacked against him. Isaiah knows he’s been categorized as “less fortunate,” and his short life has seen more than his share of social workers, food banks and police interventions. His parents struggle to overcome a legacy of stereotypes, abuse and dysfunction and desire more than anything for Isaiah and his siblings to have access to the opportunities they never had.
In Four Feet Up, her second NFB documentary, award-winning photographer and filmmaker Nance Ackerman invites us into the lives of this determined family for an intimate and touching experience of child poverty in one of the richest countries in the world.
Ackerman spent two years with Isaiah and his family, developing a relationship entrusted to her to share with us through her tender care and vision. As her portrait of the family unfolds with the help of Isaiah’s creative input, curiosity and zest for life, so do Ackerman’s own feelings about the responsibilities of Canadians - to raise all children as our best investment in the nation’s future and to take a more critical look at how we measure wealth.