The most talked about, videotaped and photographed neighbourhood is coming to the Pacific Cinematheque June 5-12!
The Downtown Eastside Film Festival is also a community forum that uses the prism of film shot in and inspired by the DTES as an entry point to explore the passions and prejudices that make this area so compelling.
One hundred years ago, in 1903, Vancouver’s first public library opened at the corner of Main and Hastings. The American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie donated the $50,000 construction cost. Over the past century, the building has also housed the city’s museum, been briefly abandoned, and, for the past 23 years, served as a community centre and library for the Downtown Eastside – a “living room” and gathering place for one of Vancouver’s most remarkable, complex and troubled neighbourhoods.
As part of a series of community arts events and other programs and activities honouring this 100th anniversary, the Carnegie Community Centre is joining with Pacific Cinémathèque to present the Downtown Eastside Film Festival, a week-long celebration featuring films, discussions and music inspired by, relating to, and created in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
A portion of the proceeds of the Downtown Eastside Film Festival will go towards the new Downtown Eastside Community Arts and Humanities Trust. Designed to be the lasting legacy of the Carnegie Centre’s 100th anniversary celebrations, the Trust will support Downtown Eastside residents and local organizations in all aspects of the arts and humanities – as audiences, as participants and students, as artists and creators. By helping to sustain community arts in this important community, the Trust will ensure that the voice of the people and cultures of the Downtown Eastside continue to be heard.
THURS JUNE 5
Where We Were and Where We’re Going
Celebrating 100 years of the Carnegie Centre, archival footage of the DTES, classic films, poets and speakers.
DTES film footage circa 1907
Sandy Cameron reads his poem "On to Ottawa"
Skid Row (1956)
Produced by Alan King this bleak yet lyrical portrait of homeless men in the DTES inspired a new generation of documentary.
Dir: Alan King CBC 30 min
Summer Afternoon (1956)
Jack Long the talented cinematographer who also shot Skidrow shows us the DTES from the perspective of two boys. We see fishermen who used to work along False Creek when it extended as far as Chinatown.
Dir: Ron Kelly CBC 25min
Hayne Wai Slide Show
The historic fight of Strathcona and Chinatown residents against the demolition of their neighbourhoods.
Hard Times Festival (1976)
A summer festival in Oppenheimer park. Features kissing booth and cockroach races.
Special on the opening of Carnegie Community Centre (1980)
Maps with Teeth (1997)
Features a group at the Carnegie Centre who use mapping to record history, and develop community goals.
Dir: Peg Campbell Asterick Productions 25min
Curtis Clearsky - Rap, Spoken Word
Fix: The Story of an Addicted City (2002)
Completed in 2002, Nettie Wild’s superbly edited documentary chronicles the push for safe injection sites in Vancouver. A discussion will follow.
Dir: Nettie Wild 93min
FRI JUNE 6
The Shifting Cultural Communities of the DTES
The Coast Salish created a foundation for the DTES that became home to many distinct communities from Asia to Europe- a starting point and home to many cultures.
Today is A Good Day: Remembering Chief Dan George (1998)
Born in 1899 in the Tsleil-Waututh territory just outside of Vancouver, Chief Dan George was a remarkable man beloved for his acting, oratory, poetry, music and cultural activism on behalf of Aboriginal people.
Dir: Loretta Todd 46 min
A People’s History of Chinatown and Strathcona
Hayne Wai has been active in the Chinese-Canadian community for over 25 years, and has documented Chinatown/Strathcona’s critical challenges of the 1960’s and 70’s, including freeways, urban renewal and racist stereotypical media. He will chronicle these events and the role played by the films in this section.
Posing as a NFB reporter Fred Davis visits various Chinatown locations including the typesetting room of the Chinese Times.
Dir: Bernard Devlin NFB 15min
This satirical slide show reverses stereotypes by exploring Vancouver’s exotic Lofan-town. Highlights include a visit to the popular Lofan resturant, McDonald’s.
Hayne Wai 9min
Bamboo Lions and Dragons (1981)
Due to protests by the Chinese community concerning stereotypes, slurs, and historic inaccuracies, the first version of this NFB film was never released. This revised version focuses on the differences between two families with an emphasis on who is acculturated to “Canadian ways” and who is not.
Dir: Richard Patton NFB 26min (selections will be shown)
Saltwater City: The Chinese in Vancouver(1986)
Produced to commemorate the opening of the Chinese Cultural Centre in 1986 and museum exhibition of the same name, this made for TV documentary, made in consultation with the community, sets some records straight on the history of the Chinese in Vancouver.
Dir: Doug Nicole SPECTRA Communications 24 min (selections will be shown)
Escapades of the One Particular Mr. Noodle (1990)
A humorous and personal take on the assimilation question, this film concerns a second-generation Chinese-Canadian who recalls her childhood in a white middle class suburb in the 1960s. Adulthood lands her a job walking the streets as the ten-foot Mr. Noodle, hawking the wonders of a pasta bar. Mr. Noodle's persona eventually takes over her identity, and the protagonist finds herself alienated once again as a noodle among humans.
Dir: Sook-Yin Lee NFB 11min
Hogan’s Alley (1994)
Details the history of Hogan's Alley, the Vancouver Black community that existed in the DTES between 1930 and the late 1960s and was destroyed to make room for the Georgia Viaduct.
Dir: Cornelia Wyngaarden, Andrea Fantona 32 min
Sleeping Tigers: The Asahi Baseball Story (2003)
This is the history of the team who were the pride of Little Tokyo in pre-war Vancouver. When Canada declared war against Japan in 1942, everyone of Japanese descent, whether born in Canada or not, was sent to internment camps. Faced with hardship, racism and isolation, the former Asahi members survived by playing baseball, eventually breaking down racial and cultural barriers with the R.C.M.P. officers and the local townspeople.
Dir: Jari Osborne, NFB 51min
SAT JUNE 7
Warning: Disturbing Content.
How mainstream news and drama have represented the DTES, and how others have created alternative visions. Guests from CBC and other media outlets will be in attendance.
The Outcast (1963)
Shot as one man’s walk through Vancouver, this is a sympathetic portrait of a man who is lonely and refused work because of his criminal record.
News Report on DTES (1972)
This CBC special observes that many of the men living on social assistance in the DTES are there because they were injured in BC the resource industry. Reporter Mike Halleran concludes, “We know how to grow but we don’t know how to provide the services that come with growth.” Could a reporter make a similar statement on CBC today?
Newsworld DTES Drug Special (2000)
Municipal Election DTES Special hosted by Ian Hanomansing (2002)
Recalling My Escape
People who have lived the inner city experience represent it through dramatic film.
Moccasin Flats (2002)
In 2000, Big Soul began a series of Aboriginal youth media empowerment workshops entitled repREZentin’ that train Aboriginal youth in all areas of filmmaking. The latest, “Moccasin Flats” was shot with youth in North Central Regina. In this premier episode a young man is conflicted about leaving the harsh native ghetto to attend University when his nemesis is released from jail, threatening the safety of his girlfriend and his family.
Dir: Randy Redroad Big Soul Productions 24min
We All Fall Down (2000)
This semi-autobiographical story is loosely based on Martin Cummins' experiences living in the DTES. Filmed on location it is a story of love, friendship, betrayal, addiction, and re-birth set against the bleak backdrop of the inner city.
Dir: Martin Cummins 92 min
SUN JUNE 8
Police, Laying Down the Law
Whistling Smith (1975)
Sergeant Bernie "Whistling" Smith pounds the beat in the DTES.
Dir: Michael Scott, Marrin Canell NFB 27 min
Stopping Traffik - The War Against the War on Drugs
“Drug prohibition does exactly the opposite of what it was intended to do. Drug prohibition creates violence; it creates more addicts; it creates more dysfunction in society,” said the late Gil Puder, once a "Golden Boy" in the Vancouver Police Department. A respected constable he had no idea that he'd fall so far from favour in the organization that once embraced him. The force spent endless hours and dollars investigating him. His crime? He spoke out against the war on drugs.
Dir: Jerry Thompson, Raincoast Storylines 45min
Through a Clear Lens (1999)
Headlines Theatre put video cameras in the hands of a small group of youth to research and document the interface between youth and the police.
Headlines Theatre 10 min
Through a Blue Lens (1999)
The biggest grossing documentary in the history of the NFB, Veronica Mannix worked with the Odd Squad to show how hard being an addict in Vancouver really is.
Dir: Veronica Mannix NFB 52 min
MON JUNE 9
Vancouver’s Social Justice Incubator
The fight for adequate housing remains a central issue for the DTES
Slum Landlords (1972)
A report on the terrible housing conditions in DTES hotels.
Independent Community TV Reports on housing issues over the years.
Right to Fight (1986)
Nettie Wild’s rarely seen first video, this musical is about housing.
Dir: Nettie Wild 50 min (selections will be shown)
Curtis Clearsky video(2002)
The Fight for Woodwards (2003)
This world premier tracks what happened to the squatters during and after the fall 2002 occupation of Woodwards.
Dir: Michael Sider 30min
Down Here (1997)
Veronica Mannix’s first documentary about the DTES, is a biography of poet and ex-addict Bud Osborn.
Dir: Veronica Mannix 50min
Making Shelter (1997)
A portrait of the Four Sister’s Coop and the Four Corners Bank.
Dir: Annie O'Donoghue Asterick Productions 26min (selections will be shown)
Nowhere else to go
This program focuses on people with mental illness who end up living in the streets or rooming houses of the DTES.
Out of Riverview (1986)
CBC report: When Riverview was closed residents were left to fend for themselves.
Within These Walls (1996)
This powerful documentary gives voice to those who have been hospitalized within the mental health care system.
Chris McDowell and Myriam Fougère 30 min
Jupiter’s Wife (1994)
This documentary is a haunting real-life mystery story. It begins with a chance encounter in New York's Central Park between filmmaker Michel Negroponte, and Maggie, a beguiling homeless woman in her mid-forties who claims to be the wife of the god Jupiter.
Michel Negroponte 78min
WED JUNE 11
The Roots of Our Addictions
SFU psychology professor Bruce Alexander has written a paper that suggests the roots of our many addictions (hard drugs being only one) stem from our free market economy. He will give historical examples of cultures that were traumatized through colonization and ended up with addiction rates that never existed before the imposition of a free market economy.
Men with Ties (2000)
This hilarious upbeat cut-out animation tells a tongue-in-cheek modern-day parable of how men with ties colonize the planet.
Hans Samuelson, Lesley McCubbin 5min
Adbuster Television Spots
Kuper Island: Return to the Healing Circle (1997)
For almost a century, hundreds of Coast Salish children were sent to the Kuper Island Indian Residential School. Isolated on a remote island off the coast of British Columbia, they were forbidden from speaking their native language, forced to deny their cultural heritage, and often faced physical and sexual abuse. 20 years after the school's closure, survivors are beginning to break the silence as they embark on an extraordinary spiritual journey.
Christine Welsh/Peter C. Campbell Gumboot Productions 45 min
Tu As Crié Let Me Go (1998)
It's the most terrible tragedy a mother can imagine. Director Anne Claire Poirier's daughter, Yanne, turned to drugs and prostitution. And then she was murdered at age 26. Following the tragedy, Poirier uses her immense talents as a filmmaker to find the strength and courage to transform her devastating personal pain into a cinematic tour-de-force.
Dir: Anne Claire Poirier 98 min
everyone has their addictions…
Delilah Miller is an explosive twenty three year old painter, trying to reconcile her insatiable appetite for both men and women with her desire for a relationship with monogamous rock star Ryland. Ryland has a few of his own struggles - foremost the little problem with heroin. Thrown into the mix is the sweetly fanatical Mrs. Black...who has a hard on for god. Kirsten Clarkson will be in attendance
Dir: Kirsten Clarkson 93min
THURS JUNE 12
The Creative Spirit
Take 5’s Michael Frazer will be creating a canvas for this festival outside the Cinematheque. He will talk about graffiti art in the DTES.
In a world hungry for martyrs or heroes, of global corporate culture, pointless elections and ceaseless political strife, we can still make art that moves us beyond helplessness. This film is a complete surprise.
Dir: Ann Marie Fleming 7 min
Wayson Choy: Unfolding the Butterfly (2001)
Celebrated Author Wayson Choy recalls his childhood in Vancouver’s Chinatown and emphasizes we all have family stories worthy of a ‘Hollywood film’.
Dir: Michael Glassbourg 41 min
Keys to Kindoms (1998)
A film-poem based on Bud Osborn’s famous poem about living in a run down DTES hotel.
Dir: Nathaniel Geary 22min
Yuxweluptun: Man of Masks
In 1868 the Canadian government passed the Indian Act to subdue Native peoples by confining them to reservations, outlawing their languages and destroying land rights. Salish artist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun shoots the Indian Act in protest.
Dir: Dana Claxton 21min
The Creative Act:
Make something beautiful out of what is thrown away.
Traplines in Vancouver (2003)
In Vancouver Peter and Doe check their “traplines”, 5 and 20 cent cans are retrieved for refund. Binners move discretely along the lanes of affluent neighbourhoods. We discover mainstream society as seen from its margins.
Dir: Benoit Raoulx 37 min
The Gleaners and I (2001)
Agnès Varda, the "Grande Dame of the French New Wave" trains her ever-seeking eye on gleaners, those who pick at already-harvested fields for the odd potato or turnip, who insist on finding a use for what society has determined it has no use for. Varda's own ruminations on her life as a filmmaker (a gleaner of sorts), gives her a connection to her subjects that creates a touching human portrait that the L.A. Weekly called "a protest film that's part social critique, part travelogue, but always an unsentimental celebration of human resilience."
Dir: Agnès Varda 82 min