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.
94 Comments / User Reviews
This is the BEST documentary EVER!! I love how he’s slamming heroin by the end!!
He gets points for going all the way like he did but The Big Problem remains. What to do about drug addiction? Legalization is the latest rave and fav but making drugs legal and easy to acquire is not going to reduce the use of them, unless people really think addicts will get good paying jobs to buy dope with.
This is a spoof, and quite funny. Sad that so many posters are offended. And no, the serious subject of homelessness is NOT off limits to this kind of treatment.
I watched this documentary last night and I couldn’t believe my disappointment when you got fucked up and went home. Everybody down there who gets fucked up has to stay down there no matter how many times they vomit. This was a high school attempt at documentary filmmaking and like many others have said in this list of comments. You missed the mark By our mail!
How can you say he has no substance or insight when you’ve watch 3 minutes of it. Speak for yourself.. get your head out of your ass and watch more of it.. I think you’ll be surprised by the end of it his opinion is alot different. Why do people shit on people that try to bring awareness to this shit, but then turn act like bleed heart douche bags whenever the overdose or housing crisis come up. Fuck all you people.
Could only stomach 3 minutes of this mess. So much privilege. How disresepectful it seemed that it was just a joke to him. No real substance or insight.
It seems the homeless are a joke to him rather than the reality of being broken people at the beginning . Unlike him the homeless that suffer mental illness and are broken by traumatic pasts cannot just go back to their life after 31 days. He shows his privilege by starting a homeless experiment by jumping in the water and walking the streets without clothing. Only someone with a safety net behind them would pull such an stunt because he can just go home if it does not work out. A real homeless person would freeze to death on the street so they would never do something so stupid.
People with underlying mental illness and trauma are subject to addiction. Once the ball gets rolling with drugs which do in fact help to medicate existential pain. A percentage never make it back from that and die on the skid rows of the world.
People who try to experiment with being homeless for a project or documentary are missing one thing. That thing is being completely broken and devastated by your life experiences.Those are the people who stay on the streets for decades. Gabor Mate wrote about them in his book In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts.
Ps I know of what I speak because I was homeless for years after cracking up from severe PTSD
I’m the lucky one who got out of gasstown I was a addict before I got there thing is in my day’s heroin and Crack weren’t so easy to get magic mushrooms was the thing back then along with grass, haschich, booze, acid, mescaline so I never did use heroin or crack.
I use to rob the welfare with 3 set’s of ID so I would get 3 checks a month, back then you didn’t have to have a mental illness and they didn’t ask you to look for a job you could cash you check at the bank without a account, the welfare people would give you a letter with the check you would go in to the bank hand over the letter and the teller would give you this leather token then get in line and cash in the money, I would get the welfare checks right out of there offices so I had to hustle to 3 diffrent offices where I had diffrent identity, a few times I push it bought some travelling checks cash them in different banks and reported them stolen after American express would pay me back in cash within 24 hours that was there policy, if your going to live on the streets you have to be street wise and being a scam artist would help a lot, the shit I pulled unbelievable but I never hurt a soul, I would have a couple of cheap hotel rooms on grand ville and hastings as welfare adresses, but didn’t sleep there I had a nice hotel appartment, and I was good with my hands if you get the drift so I would go ”shopping” I had the nerves back in those day’s many didn’t so it was the low life for them, I hate good meals in fine restaurents.
I’m not bragging here all I’m saying is with a little wits one could live a comfortable life granted not legal but way better than a box in a alley…comes a time when one as to pay the piper tough.
Paid in Full and then some.
The RCMP and CRA have been notified, thanks for your confession.
Haha WOW! You’re an awful human
That was a great documentary. I’ve been homeless 6 months now.
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.
addicts only have themselves to blame. no one or nothing else is the reason behind being addicted.
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!
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.
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.
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!!!
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?
Botswana has one of, if not the best living conditions in Africa.
this guy is a fucking joke!! douchebag
ps – you aren’t homeless when you can prance back home whenever you feel like it.
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.
wow! i have had the opportunity to visit east hastings a few times but this documentary opened my eyes.. well done!
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.
you completely missed the point.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
very good doc man brave soul with obvious will power and determination , method journalism at iots most dangerous
Incredibly awesome insight into homeless life.
wasted my time watching this…guy is an a***hole
he is so fucking cute. holy shit
This entire film is entirely unethical and the guy is this film is a absolute dumbo.
what a flipping idiot…it’s all a big joke to him…get a life and stop being and ass
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.
What a self righteous douchbag, this was a workable idea and could have done some good.
What a self righteous douchbag, this was a workable idea and could have done some good.
What a self righteous douchbag, this was a workable idea and could have done some good.
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
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.
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!
The title of this doc should be “Capitalism”.
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.
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?)
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.
What a total fucking dickhead……
He has no idea……………..
thats because hes rich. (backpac with a hidden cam)
Queefer Sutherland says:
February 11, 2011 at 11:39 pm
“Fake and gay.”
Brilliant. Did you have to think about this before posting?
no… but im paying forward right now as i opened my hate on some comments. im sorry. as long as it pays forward.
Fake and gay.
ha ha… says… queefer sutherland!!!! is there really a faker and gayer name??!!!? dont bother answering as i dont care… im drunk!!!!!
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:)
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.
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….
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 :).