Streets of Plenty

An unprecedented look into the underworld of Vancouver’s downtown east-side ghetto. This 65 minute documentary follows one man’s 30 day experiment of joining the thousands of homeless, ill, and addicted, who survive the streets of Vancouver’s cold, wet December.

He starts off with nothing but a pair of underwear. Where he ends up is a place he never knew existed, even though its a place he passed by every day.

He has no money, no friends, no family, and most importantly, no home. He must navigate the institutions, policies and services alongside the thousands of people that call Vancouver’s streets home.

This is the perfect film for anyone who wants to see first hand what life is like on Vancouver’s streets, but doesn’t want to risk murder from gang violence, contracting a fatal or chronic disease, or a life-long addiction to crack or heroin. Official Selection 2009 Queens International Film Festival and Official Selection 2010 Oxford FIlm Festival.

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  • http://citymanual.net Iris Vogel

    Amazing post. Thanks for info.

  • yimyam

    good stuff

  • Sally

    wow…finally someone showing it like it is.

  • Cody

    Woah, a true insiders view of the streets of Vancouver. I have been downtown numerous times, but never saw it from this perspective.

    • Grimgeek

      and i …. am done with posting on other peoples comments when im drunk…. thanks for keeping it simple

  • priveleged white boy

    this film is a joke. this guy has absolutely no empathy or understanding for the people and lifestyle he is attempting to cover. he goes about the whole ‘experiment’ with an idiotic grin, not showing how it is like to truly live on the streets (as one is led to expect) but how to divert aid from those who really need it(faking illnesses for welfare, using wheelchairs and crutches to get more money from passerbys, etc.). watch children underground for a real look at poverty

    • http://documentaryheaven Kaia

      For the record, I would have to agree with your point. You are absolutely right in all aspects. I myself was very shocked with this perspective, of this particular issue. Of anything, there were many quotes that I could have picked to emphasis this issue,however, the words seem to boggle me.

      His whole persona during the first 10 days of the experiment seemed very judgmental and fake, leaving me with an attitude of hatred. This hatred attitude was utmost directed at him ‘the experimenter’ for his absolute ignorance for the homeless.

      I also have to add that I was very disappointed that the experimenter rejected multiple requested to continue the project. therefore, My disappointment shed a dark cloud over the whole experiment.

      Overall, This documentary was highly informative and respectful of the issues and fundamentals that homeless people face, and to me this is what mattered throughout the whole documentary.

      • Grimgeek

        well… that was a well thought out response… i liked that… you thought of more than one perspective…. ive seen this shit in real life… i think he did well to expose how easy it is to get lost in this world… imagine if he stuck around the last five days without his bro…. he would have been undectectable in that culture…. most likely high as well… he was a rich kid… (you saw his apartment at the end)… but i dont think the film was about drug addiction or homelessness,… i think it was about how the man is powerless to help them… and when put on the spot the man only offers answers that look good on paper… i think the film was more a promotion of giving to charity than it was to giving to panhandlers.

    • http://none vursifyre

      i completely agree. children underground, although not filmed in north america, is completely different. totally devastating to watch actually. this was mildly interesting yet no connection was made with anyone “on the streets” if he would have delved a little deeper, he may have found some profound shit. but no.

    • Grimgeek

      youre a fucking liar…. youre not white. i am white. i am poor, did you even watch the film? it wasnt about having fucking empathy… it was about his lack of empathy…. he put that shit on to figure out their motivations… … what the fuck??? this is why my ghetto hates white people… their fucking idiots!!!! forget poverty…. this film is about choice.

      • Grimgeek

        that is why he fucked the system…. to show us how easily we are raped by our empathy… kid… you got to brush up on your social studies.

        • oy vey

          sooo many contradictions here kid… sit still while the adults talk.

  • Stephanie

    … So after all that, his conclusion is that all hobos are addicts … I honestly think it’s possible to figure that out MINUS the drug use … that kid is an idiot.

    • Grimgeek

      i thought the whole documentary was about sticking homelessness to the man!!!! drug addicted homless… wasnt that why he fought with his brother?…. i mean… he had to do it to be/feel homless…. didnt he?

      • Dream In Sound

        how does one stick homelessness ‘to the man?’

      • Dream In Sound

        how does one stick homelessness ‘to the man?’

  • sharon

    could not believe yr docu. have you been anywhere else in the world where all this is hidden, and out of sight for tourists? life is rough in vancouver and every where else!!

  • Wee john

    Gordon Campbell needs to watch this and do something-what a fanatasy I have.

  • Tiger Neinstein

    This guy is a total dick! He is wasting resources that the homeless need!
    I seriously hope this guy dontated all of the money he made from this film to help out the homeless, If not this dude needs a good kicking.

    • Grimgeek

      i am only replying to this comment because of your name…. you are … in need of serious education!!!! if you watched the film… you’d know giving money to the homeless is the act of mtv. forget that… he should spend the money watching homeless fight eachother for $20… maybe then theyd restore honour to education by making homeless team up against him for $20 +.

      • gigantor pizza

        are you retarded?

  • M@ Lautar

    Highly disappointing. Just another example of a well-to-doer making light of the plight of homeless people. He’s a joke. It’s too bad the producer is more likely to make the next Jersey Shore than any docu capable of making a change.

    • Grimgeek

      too bad your an optimist… you might have found joy in the fact that … i …. as an observer… think he is fucked on heroin…. none the less…. i dont think i have ever seen someone stick “homelessness” to the man as well as he did… wont win votes or shit… but still…. that guy stuck to his speal like a dog in heat to a sleeping leg— that poor politician LMFAO!!!!

  • Gary Murphy

    Triple zero. Looks like a first class moron who tried to impress his frat buddies living as a homeless person when in fact all he showed was how detached of reality an insipid jerk he is. Hopefully this was his first and last attempt at documenting anything. The title should be “Narcissistic impressions of homeless designed to flatter myself, and the stupid mother fucking pseudo-documentary I made showing instead how much of an imbecile I am”. Mega jerk!

    • Grimgeek

      youre a jerk…. what the hell were you doing googling this shit if you aint gonna watch it. i aint the kid but i got props for him dealing it to the man… that was kinda funny….. quit your day job…. see how we love to hate each other… then fret on someone for not attemting to deal with our shit…. its a world wide web… were all connected… forget you for not being seen… at least this kid stuck all his 25 days to the man in a well thought fist fuck. …. however if he is fucked up on heroin today… then forget me.

      • Grimgeek

        oh shit … i forgot to mention… i sell liqour and am currently drunk… sorry if i ruined your day… but as i sat, watched and made chainmail armour… i was dissapointed to see most of this kids comments hate on him… i enjoyed the film very much. it was…. “enlightening”. at least he tried to expose the real world to the real world. >:)

        • Grimgeek

          shit again…. i ment the next guy… victoria local… not… gary murphey (please grab yourself a web name… now i think you are fuckig crazy)

      • gigantor pizza

        are you retarded?

  • Lane

    I thought this documentary was very interesting. It’s interesting to see a upper/middle class young white male attempt to be homeless. It’s a very different experience I would imagine for someone who who has a disability of some sort, prior abuse from an outside source, a serious addiction, etc. I think he’s a fool for trying heroin and crack. While I admire his search to gain knowledge of a world so different to his, one which is dangerous, entrapping, and devastating, I absolutely disagree with his drug use. He leads a privileged life, one that most people don’t have the opportunity to see, and especially live. He’s lucky he’s got a good brother to help keep him straight. Drug addiction take the lives of many and I find it disheartening that he would even try them for this experiment.

    • http://documentaryheaven.com tyler

      Remember the point that he went as far as he could go into homelessness, he gave up, but he had a place or a life to go back to, what happens when you dont have that, what do you give up to. life?

  • http://documentaryheaven.com tyler

    Thank you for going as far as you did to truly experiance and share the experiance with us all of what it is. Forget a day, mesh you walked a month in the shoes of someone who you wanted to understand, but seemingly left with more questions. These people are just looking for meaning and purpose and that word job is what seperates them from the rest of society,…If they live for addiction maybe we just need to make the thrill of it all go away and at least help them be a good part of society like that can collector guy. These people are good hearted, just self destructive. Its not ok but it is real so what i think should be done is give them a little routine, they need to accept the fact that to be happy you must at least be tru to yourself.

  • chindi

    I have a mixed response to this documentary. As a lefty, I was actually distressed by the beginning where he was getting ‘free’ services, and living healthy and well-kept on the streets. I wanted to believe that the streets were hell, and that nobody lived there by choice. This response reminded me that we on the left as well as our opponents on the right live off cultural biases and stereotypes when we think of the street life. Eventually, this documentary slipped into my expectations – sickness, neglect, despair. I had to ask myself a few questions such as why should life on the streets be always a type of punishment for not choosing to work at Wallmart for minimum wages, and no health benefits, no drug benefits, no dental care, no childcare, inept and sometimes cruel managers, no pension plan, no job security, low self esteem etc. Doesn’t that sound like something straight out of Charles Dickens as well? We might want to ask what some of those addicts feel the need to escape.

    • http://twitter.com/MarcosElGringo Marcos Schneider

      As a lefty your initial response is highly contradictory – you should celebrate the idea that even on the streets one could acquire a modicum of human dignity and live a life at subsistence levels. You suggest that these people are getting a ‘free ride’ which is the ammunition of the right. Of course as it turns out life on the streets isn’t easy, but regardless, we should never drop the well worn slogan ‘housing for all’. 

    • http://twitter.com/MarcosElGringo Marcos Schneider

      As a lefty your initial response is highly contradictory – you should celebrate the idea that even on the streets one could acquire a modicum of human dignity and live a life at subsistence levels. You suggest that these people are getting a ‘free ride’ which is the ammunition of the right. Of course as it turns out life on the streets isn’t easy, but regardless, we should never drop the well worn slogan ‘housing for all’. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/dillon.r.hillier Dillon Randy Hillier

      You should have started that out more like “As a fool”.

  • dave

    I don’t think this guy quite knew what he was getting himself up to, opinions vary but weather he got the full scope of the problem or root cause he definitly learned a lot more in my opinion than I thought he would. However, think this guy is an absolute moron.

  • S.M

    Hi, My father, a man who was raised in a loving home, went to university, was a architect/drafter and married a beautiful woman who had a sweet baby girl (me) then adopted me…became addicted to alcohol due to the stress of his job (competition) and then ended up sleeping under steps in downtown Calgary by the time I was 15…to make a long story short, he has been sober for 32 years as of January 9, 2011. He lives in East Hastings by choice, helping people too, accepting them for who/why/where they are at…in 1997 he had a stroke (leaving him without speech and with very limited use of his left side)while working on a docu-drama very much relating to what you did here, but from another angle (he had graduated from Vancouver Film School with honours in 1993). He’s an amazing man and I am proud to call him dad.
    I’m going to show him this documentary if he hasn’t seen it already. Well done! So I’m going to say a big ‘thank you’ now for the conviction it took to send out this powerful message, addiction. The ending is powerful and truthful…and it is not hopeless! I would like to see Part Two, a sequel :).
    Now what are the solutions? My suggestion is to examine ’emotion’ and emotive/cognitive process…journey into healing with the most hopeless/helpless/homeless person/people you can find in East Hastings and see what happens….

    • S.M

      Oh, and by the way…I really appreciated that this guy was ‘true to himself’ regarding his attitude, belief system and agenda right from the very start. Sure he began with depicting the ignorance that is indicative of a vast amount of people in society and yeah it got me ‘ruffled’ to begin with too, however I was able to get it as the documentary went on. I’m sure listening to his attitude and watching his behaviours were like a mirror for alot of people.
      At the end I was able to assess where this guy was coming from and how he changed in the end of it all from having done this…he took a huge step, a huge risk and advocated for change in the end.
      He deserves respect for his integrity to be truthful from his point of view, not judgment. After all, it’s his message, his production…you want to present your point of view, then take the time, the effort and the funds and let’s see your documentary :).

  • Debbie

    So much criticism from so many posters here.

    This young man chose to make a journey to discover for himself, if it were possible, to understand what it is like to be homeless and an addict.
    How many of the posters attacking him here would attempt the same?

    Even though he had a sanctuary to return too at the end of his journey it is as they say “It is the thought that counts”. Actions speak louder than words and he DID expose the plight of the homeless and addicted in Vancouver. He achieved his goal because we are all discussing it right here, right now.

    He is young and who knows how this experience has changed him and what he may do as he gets older. An advocate for housing for the poor? An advocate for assisting drug addicts? A advocate for better quality and more shelters for the poor? Heck, he may join the government body and act upon his own experiences. Who knows!

    Taking the drugs was in his opinion necessary to understand what the drug addicts were seeking from it’s use. This sort of trial cannot give the user a true perspective of an addict. It would have been more prudent of him to go to the drug clinic and ask questions about drug use used over a long period of time and the long term physical and mental effects they produced.

    So please, instead of seeing the negative aspects of what this person was doing, see the good intentions of his actions. There is no right or wrong in what he did.

  • Debbie

    chindi says:
    October 20, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Quote: “Eventually, this documentary slipped into my expectations – sickness, neglect, despair. I had to ask myself a few questions such as why should life on the streets be always a type of punishment for not choosing to work at Wallmart for minimum wages, and no health benefits, no drug benefits, no dental care, no childcare, inept and sometimes cruel managers, no pension plan, no job security, low self esteem etc. Doesn’t that sound like something straight out of Charles Dickens as well? We might want to ask what some of those addicts feel the need to escape.”

    I would have added this to my post but you said it perfectly. Thank you:)

  • Queefer Sutherland

    Fake and gay.

    • Grimgeek

      ha ha… says… queefer sutherland!!!! is there really a faker and gayer name??!!!? dont bother answering as i dont care… im drunk!!!!!

  • Debbie

    Queefer Sutherland says:
    February 11, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    “Fake and gay.”

    Brilliant. Did you have to think about this before posting?

    • Grimgeek

      no… but im paying forward right now as i opened my hate on some comments. im sorry. as long as it pays forward.

  • garry

    What a total fucking dickhead……
    He has no idea……………..

    • Grimgeek

      thats because hes rich. (backpac with a hidden cam)

  • VictoriaLocal

    I watched the first 15 minutes of this and turned it off. A film with such a serious concept should not start out as a joke. I can tell be reading the comments that it didn’t improve at all.
    Very poor attempt at a very sincere idea.

  • Grimgeek

    forget the brainless mutants who hated here!!!! this was BRILLIANT!!!! ive watched many fall into this life. the big players start out rich and do exactly what this dick did…. the difference… they stayed…. he left (a true signature of a dick… no fretting though… the world is made of dicks, pussies and assholes… choose your poison). of the others…. their only real hope was to have a safe home to crawl away to when the shit storm of reality hit. none the less… hope is futile versus money and power… at least as far as i can tell. if any real effect of this documentary exists…. its that other rich kids might bail before they decide to “david vs. goliath” real drug addiction. pisses me off to see others who might have been born into this … coliseium…. hate on this kid… it pisses me off because so many from my class (dont get confused …. i am the opposite of rich)… choose this rather than facing the shit storm of reality…. it pisses me off because ive been a sober SOB who watch my loved ones fall into this… if they could see themselves as the self destructive self righteous little shits i see them as… they might quit (or at least its how i rationalize my choice of current drunken beliefes)… like i did when i learned how much of a piece of shit every single membrain of this plague really is… this kid censored it like a virgin. this kid treated each and everyone of those he encountered here well. SO FORGET YOU… i would have thrived in your self destructive drug addicted withdrawl rant… i would have fucked you up majorly… physicaly, mentaly, or spritiualy…. which ever got my point accross most efficently… so PROPS TO YOU KID!!!! you got fucked up on drugs, you got sick from “safety”, you saw how being homeless in canada is really a worldly luxury. and then to top the whole thing off…. like a dick…. you put the fucking man on the spot and finished the film!!!!! BRILLIANT!!!!! LOVED IT!!!!! none the less… i did love it because… well… im a grim geek. dont bother posting rants towards me… im drunk and will probably never be willingly here again. if i am here again… i assure you… i am set in my ways. and i will fret on you for wasting your preacious time… barking up a tree with no cat.

    • Dream In Sound

      is this some kind of ironic-meta-lit piece? i mean c’mon, can anyone be this constantly contradictory?

      “it pisses me off because ive been a sober SOB who watched my loved ones fall into this…”
      (then says hes drunk…)
        “if they could see themselves as the self destructive self righteous little shits i see them as…””…barking up a tree with no cat.”( so..youre saying changing your mind is useless because you dont have one?)

  • Aikidoman2001

    The title of this doc should be “Capitalism”.

  • Olivia

    What I liked about this doc was that, even while he was focused on his own experience being homeless, you get these glimpses of the ‘real’ homeless life. The friendship mixed with dependence and despair – these people live in the extremes of life. East Hastings in Vancouver is a place that has a strange draw to it. While some of us who live privileged lives are terrified to walk amongst the drug-users there, we’re also reminded of how easy our lives are, and how we’d probably give up much quicker than those on the street. It’s a worthwhile watch!

  • Anonymous

    I’m with the ‘care in the community’ rap; it doesn’t work and was never intended to work and when the ubalanced are psyche-medicated up to their eyeballs there’s no reasoning with them in any case. Turfing the sane into institutions, turfing the damaged out into the community results in unemployment, poverty and mental illness for the hitherto healthy productive people taking responsibility for their actions.It is disturbing that there is a continguent of people who prefer to live off others (from the top, filtering all the way down) rather than make a contribution to others. The only difference between those at the top (all parasites) and those at the bottom (who figure the whole system is a scam in any event) is down to who you were born into; commoners eat muck; the top parisites have it all at our expense and strategically execute dependence.

    That Insight place; cannot be denied that it is facilitating addiction and was a real eye opener. There is absolutely no way these criminals are interested in clearing up the drug issue; they push the drugs, create addiction and profit from the proceeds. The joke is that just about all the power-hungry whores take coke, crack and herion as part of their diet and it keeps them in line(s). The Technocat super elites may or may not indulge; they’re addicted to their mission.

    We’re a race of obsessive compulsive disorder and additions; from waking each morning because the alarm goes, bullshitting ourselves through a daily, nightly, weekly, monthly and lifetime of routines; most pointless in and of themselves. Those which are not, are at best superficioully engaged in or subverted (i.e. sex, love, friendship, family).

    The only honest living is found in simplicity; you make things you trade or barter them for things you don’t make but need. Everyone has a use; everyone gives to receive and everyone has a unique skill by which to live, and happily. In this system, none of this is possible due to the multi-middlemen with their banking scam. These type couldn’t cut the mustard in a free world any more than a parasite could survive without a host.

  • Sophie

    could the top rated comments please just be whether to watch this or not so i dont have to spend 10 minutes wading through your debates to waste 50 minutes on a doco.  thanks

  • C Brian

    What a self righteous douchbag, this was a workable idea and could have done some good.

  • C Brian

    What a self righteous douchbag, this was a workable idea and could have done some good.

  • C Brian

    What a self righteous douchbag, this was a workable idea and could have done some good.

  • wanderland

    ah, entertaining comments, and documentary! but it’s a complex matter indeed, i view this as a neat experience is all; there’s no real in-depth information being provided. i’ve been looking into this sort of thing for a while now, interviewing the homeless across the nation (in the U.S) from: Los Angeles, Portland, to Denver, Chicago, New York City, and everywhere in between. and no, i have not made a hip documentary nor have written a book about it, it has just regarded a true self interest in the matter. dealing with the nature, and nurture; the unsought treatment for manic depression, and lack of detection . . . it’s all quite complicated once the effort of some probing has taken place. i’m only 27 years old, and feel rather energy-less myself. a couple of potential solutions out there (at least for addiction) – Ibogaine, and Ayahuasca (and hey, maybe some introspection could take place, hope for the new perspective to take over), but i don’t know is all i know, i simply do not know a thing. confusion, and contradiction is where i stand, some of us just want to go. 

  • Phi

    what a flipping idiot…it’s all a big joke to him…get a life and stop being and ass

  • Dumbo

    This entire film is entirely unethical and the guy is this film is a absolute dumbo.

    Fucking shit.

  • Kittenshitt

    he is so fucking cute. holy shit

  • josua

    wasted my time watching this…guy is an a***hole

  • Sjcsmate

    Incredibly awesome insight into homeless life.

  • Brendan00bourke

    very good doc man brave soul with obvious will power and determination , method journalism at iots most dangerous

  • cindee33

    Did the guy reveal anything new? NO. Addiction, okay, the East Side may be fill of homeless addicts but they certainly aren’t the only one using. I doubt he even shot up heroin, if he did it must have been really weak to only last 10 minutes. Walking around with a camera, I’m sure the die-hards never even spoke to him. The guy is like a spoiled little rich twit, of course this is an assignment for his class. What a douche.

  • cindee33

    What about the other 99 % that aren’t homeless and are addicts. He should call this my arts project, will I get an A+ for this. Douche bags r us. What a waste of time. The good videos are all blocked on this site.

  • docgirl25

    I thorughly enjoyed this documentary, it was the reality of street life, Not many people would voluntarily live the street life, and it shows a different viewpoint than the norm, what a great project and I hope this documentary reaches out to many. coodos to you!

  • http://twitter.com/frominania Meaghan Fisher

    This was an awful documentary. If you’re wondering whether or not to watch it, don’t. The filmmaker/subject is patronizing, narcissistic and generalizing. You don’t get a real sense of the DES. Instead, you get to see a rich frat boy enact a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • Illustr8

    Great doc. Good point. I live in East Van and work in the downtown Eastside. Addiction is the core of the problem. Not homelessness. Homelessness is a product of the lack of help a lot of these people need. Many are mentally ill, or got thrown in the wrong direction for lack of family support.

  • DTES inhabitant

    Triple Diple Zero. Pretty offensive actually, that this dude thinks he can come into our community and neighbourhood and “document” it while PRETENDING to be homeless. He’s not homeless. You can’t decide to be homeless “for a month”…if you know you have a way out, then you’re not homeless. You can’t say “I’m not doing this anymore…I’m going home” wtf!? This documentary is a crock and I hope few people watch it.

  • dan

    4 stars. Lots of angry, hate filled, judgemental people commenting. This site is terrable. People relax a little and learn some compassion and tolerance. One love. Yes hes rich, white and not really homeless-so what, get over it. You have to respect him on his bravery alone and think more positivly and not concentrate on the negatives. ‘those that have no sin throw the first stone’ etc etc.

    • Hanan

      you completely missed the point.

  • bonnie

    wow! i have had the opportunity to visit east hastings a few times but this documentary opened my eyes.. well done!

  • athomps

    This documentary is absolutely terrible. As someone who has worked in the Downtown Eastside it is a completely inaccurate portrayal of the community. Seriously this guy is a moron.

  • athomps

    ps – you aren’t homeless when you can prance back home whenever you feel like it.

  • aacarter

    this guy is a fucking joke!! douchebag

  • Lee

    Botswana has one of, if not the best living conditions in Africa.

  • Nidhish Mehra

    It is the very fortunate things to be citizen of American and Canada, isn’t it? Alas if you do not make the even small successes there (for example to owning the car and have a once nice home) there is only one answer. Very stupid and the lazy ones. Very, very opportunitys to be happy and normal success. Of course it is natural to assume euthanasia is the correct action in these cases. I can agree but it is the very sorrowful things, isn’t it?

  • JJ

    Hated this documentary…I was homeless before and most do not have these kind of experiences…this guy is a total jerk and this experiment was a joke!!!

  • shinz

    The sign he put up when he was panhandling saying he needed money for a beer and a hooker is ludicrous. Don’t play with hard working people’s money. If you need money that ain’t no joke.

  • steven

    Looks like pretty boy couldn’t stand the heat so he got the hell out of the kitchen. Started off a s joke that took him to reality. Now you see it’s nothing funny at about it at all.

  • Hanan

    I work with homeless people everyday and i feel totally and completely disgusted about him and his doco! what a moron. who bottled him? good job!

  • jed

    addicts only have themselves to blame. no one or nothing else is the reason behind being addicted.

  • Mellissa

    I wish someone would smash this loser over the head with another bottle. What an arrogant, patronising shit bag. Just wasted 40 minutes of my life that could have been spent actually learning about something.

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