Using video recording technology, the citizens of Rosedale, once referred to as "the rear end of Alberta" by a frustrated citizen, pulled themselves together as a community. They formed a citizens' action committee, cleaned up the town, built a park, and negotiated with the government to install gas, water and sewage systems. And all this happened within five months.
This short film was an experiment in using video recordings and closed circuit television to stimulate social action in a poor Montreal neighbourhood. A citizen's committee filmed people's concerns and then played back the tapes for the community. Upon recognizing their common problems, people began to talk about joint solutions. It proved an important and effective method of promoting social change.
This documentary short captures a lively confrontation between the American community organizer and writer Saul Alinsky, and members of the Company of Young Canadians (CYC). Among other topics, the parties argue and disagree about the means and costs of securing social change.
Indigenous youth, led by Duke Redbird, argue their ideas against the blunt pragmatism of American activist and writer Saul Alinksy. Author of the book “Rules for Radicals”, Alinsky is widely considered the father of community organizing who spent his life advocating for improved living conditions in poor communities across the United States. In this impassioned debate, the young activists question the corrupting influence of power, and ask why Indigenous people cannot live traditionally and peacefully on the land. Alinsky responds, “You have got to be part of the world in order to change it. You are not going to make any changes by staying in your corner.” In Alinsky’s view, equality only happens when the disenfranchised have the strength to show the ruling powers that it will be more costly for them to withhold it. Encounter with Saul Alinksy offers fascinating insights into a conversation about power and activism that has lasting resonance today.
This short film is a series of vignettes of life in Saint-Henri, a Montreal working-class district, on the first day of school. From dawn to midnight, we take in the neighbourhood’s pulse: a mother fussing over children, a father's enforced idleness, teenage boys clowning, young lovers dallying - the unposed quality of daily life.
This full-length documentary from the Challenge for Change program addresses housing issues affecting Montreal in the mid-1970s. As the city is restoring older apartments through direct action and government subsidies, new, low-rent housing is being integrated into old neighborhoods.
This documentary follows a community action group led by American community organizer and writer Saul Alinsky in Rochester, New York. Together, they confront the community's largest employer on the issue of corporate responsibility and the employment of minority groups.
This short 1948 documentary focuses on the people of Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, and their efforts to create a recreation center. People from every section of the community contributed their services to planning and establishing this center, which then offered activities as varied as softball and library services.
In this feature documentary, American community organizer and writer Saul Alinsky goes to war against the conditions that keep the poor in poverty. The film shows how he helped Black ghettos in the United States find an effective, non-violent method of fighting for their rights.
This short film charts the Filmmaker-in-Residence project's five-year history, investigating the creative process from within as media makers join health care workers to reflect on ethics, interventionist filmmaking and shifting cinematic genres. Intricate, difficult and delicate situations come alive in this documentary, featuring seven distinct yet interconnected experiments in collaborative media.
The people of the Attawapiskat First Nation, a Cree community in northern Ontario, were thrust into the national spotlight in 2012 when the impoverished living conditions on their reserve became an issue of national debate. With The People of the Kattawapiskak River, Abenaki director Alanis Obomsawin quietly attends as community members tell their own story, shedding light on a history of dispossession and official indifference. “Obomsawin’s main objective is to make us see the people of Attawapiskat differently,” said Robert Everett-Green in The Globe & Mail. “The emphasis, ultimately, is not so much on looking as on listening—the first stage in changing the conversation, or in making one possible.” Winner of the 2013 Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary, the film is part of a cycle of films that Obomsawin has made on children’s welfare and rights.
Also available on the Alanis Obomsawin, A Legacy DVD box set