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Here’s the second in a series of short takes on the five trial cities. Three stills, three quotes and nine stats. Click on any of the photos to go to the Vancouver page of our webdoc.

 

The still above is from the Here At Home film “Heart of Hell.” As Josh Evans says in his guest post about it, “After prolonged periods without housing, individuals pass a point of no return, becoming so adapted to street life that escape, from their point of view, is unimaginable.”

 

Filmmaker Lynne Stopkewich was hoping to shoot a portrait of Mr. MadDogg while he was out traplining. That didn’t work out so she ended up making the amazing film, “A Model Person.”

 

You only have to watch a few Here At Home films to realize that none of the stereotypes about homeless people are true.

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In a recent post we talked about the ethical questions raised by the At Home study. It seems only fair that we now turn the lens on ourselves and ask some of the same questions.

As Toronto filmmaker, Manfred Becker says, “there are moral questions raised at every point in this project, including the filmmaking process. What’s my moral position making money off of people who live in such precarious situations?”

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A still from Here At Home film, "A Model Person"

Yvonne Robertson’s excellent article posted on Open File today, looks into homelessness in Vancouver and the question of what happens when the At Home study ends in 2013. She focuses on the Bosman Hotel project and Lynne Stopkewich‘s Here At Home film, “A Model Person,” gets a mention.

What’s unique about the Bosman Hotel is it gives participants the chance to form consistent relationships with doctors and police officers. Just having this presence addressing issues such as addiction helps stabilize behaviours, according to Evans. But as the study ends in 2013, the fate of the Bosman Hotel hangs in the balance. If it has to shut down next year, at least 100 housed participants are back on the streets.

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Lynne Stopkewich has had a distinguished career in feature films, documentaries and TV. While it’s clear that she’s deeply immersed herself in the issues that surround this project, what has most impressed me about her work is its powerful and distinct visual style. Easy-going and thoughtful, she spoke with me over the phone from her home in Vancouver.

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Manfred Becker is a documentary filmmaker and editor based in Toronto. In addition to directing films for Here At Home, he serves as a consultant on the documentary project as a whole. He has provided a necessary critical perspective. What follows is excerpted from a longer interview I conducted with him earlier this month.

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photo by Susan Horodyska

Darryl Nepinak is an accomplished independent filmmaker who works closely with the Aboriginal community of his hometown, Winnipeg. His no-nonsense approach to the Here At Home project has resulted in films of raw, direct intensity. I caught up with him in early May as he was dealing with issues related to his latest work.

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Sarah Fortin may be the youngest of Here At Home‘s five directors, but she is already well established in Quebec’s documentary filmmaking scene. Even-tempered and independent, she’s a triple-threat who directs, films and edits her own work. She has developed direct lines of communication with the At Home staff in Montreal, where public health and community organizations are trying to find solutions to homelessness.

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Director, Louiselle Noël

Louiselle Noël’s low-key, realist films reflect her Acadian identity. With this project, she turns the camera on a little-known, but rapidly growing, problem – rural homelessness. Her first two films for the web documentary are gentle portraits of Lise and Hector, two participants who have benefited enormormously from the At Home study. What follows is a Montreal-Moncton phone conversation about beauty.

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