Take a look at the diversity of the housing situation in Canada. This playlist focuses on housing insecurity, from revitalization to gentrification.
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Films in This Playlist Include
A Short History of the Highrise, Part One: Mud
Co-op Housing: The Best Move We Ever Made
Everything Will Be
Here At Home: Evicted
Montréal - The Neighborhood Revived
The Downtown Project
The People of the Kattawapiskak River
In this feature length film Gary Burns, Canada's king of surreal comedy, joins journalist Jim Brown on an outing to the suburbs. Venturing into territory both familiar and foreign, they turn the documentary genre inside out, crafting a vivid account of life in The Late Suburban Age.
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
This feature documentary presents a thoughtful and vivid portrait of a community facing imposed relocation. At the centre of the story is a remarkably astute and luminous 12-year-old black girl whose poignant observations about life, the soul, and the power of art give voice to those rarely heard in society. Unarmed Verses is a cinematic rendering of our universal need for self-expression and belonging.
Julia Kwan’s feature-length documentary Everything Will Be captures a significant moment of time in Vancouver’s Chinatown, with the influx of condos and new, non-Chinese businesses. The film follows a year in the life of several Chinatown denizens, including a 90-year-old Chinese newspaper street vendor and a second-generation tea shop owner, as they navigate this community in flux.
Just a stone’s throw from downtown Montreal is the largest social housing complex in Quebec. Built in 1959 where the red-light district used to be, Les Habitations Jeanne-Mance have retained something of the area’s seedy reputation for poverty, prostitution, drugs and violence. But who really knows the projects and the people who live there? Delving beneath the prejudices and stereotypes, director Isabelle Longtin ventured inside the buildings and met the residents. The result is The Downtown Project, a documentary that reveals a complex multi-ethnic reality made up of compelling personal stories and social movements.
When an old area of a city is to be demolished to make way for a new low-rental housing development, is there anything that the residents can do to protect their own interests? This film, produced in 1968, airs such a situation in the Little Burgundy district of Montréal. It shows how citizens organized themselves into a committee that made effective representations to City Hall and influenced the housing policy.
A stone's throw from downtown Montreal, quirky artists, blue-collar workers and unconventional families are being forced to leave their old neighbourhood as high-tech firms move in. Like in so many other cities, the tech companies arrive with the promise of a rosy future--but it's one built on demolitions, evictions and the conversion of low-rent property to high-priced condos.
This is a portrait of one building and its residents--people like Constanzo 'Fartman' Manna, an eccentric shipper and packer who's headed for Chile to marry the love of his life and bring her back to Montreal; artist Luc Bourbonnais, who is fighting desperately to hold on to the loft that inspires so much of his art; and Cuban émigré Rolando Zambrano, who ran a neighbourhood snack bar for nearly 30 years.
Shot over a period of six months and set to a pulsing Latin and rock soundtrack, 645 Wellington not only opens a window onto the lives of the building's residents but brings the building itself to life. We come to know the dark hallways, the corners and the doorways. We get to know them well. Just as they are about to change, forever.
645 Wellington was produced as part of the Reel Diversity Competition for emerging filmmakers of colour. Reel Diversity is a National Film Board of Canada initiative in partnership with CBC Newsworld.
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.
The film explores the dimensions of the housing crisis in Canada, the definition of cooperative housing, and its possibilities as described by some of the people who are living in such dwellings today. Here, housing is owned and operated by people as users, not as investors. The film emphasizes an alternative in housing: security of tenure and mutual aid as the owner-families have come to value them.
In the first installment, "Mud" traces the historical roots of the residential highrise, from the biblical Tower of Babel to the tenement buildings of New York. The film is narrated by singer-songwriter Feist, and is directed by Katerina Cizek in collaboration with the New York Times em>.
On the verge of being evicted, Theresa heads out to work panhandling on a familiar patch of concrete in downtown Toronto. Confiding in her caseworker, Bouchra, Theresa blames herself for her eviction and delivers a startling revelation.
This short film is a chapter from Here At Home, a web documentary about mental health and homelessness that takes us inside the Mental Health Commission of Canada's At Home pilot project.