Cutting poverty through film

David Langille makes poverty hot. His last short film, documenting five stories of people living in poverty, sold-out Massey Hall in Toronto.

David Langille makes poverty hot.

His last short film, documenting five stories of people living in poverty, sold-out Massey Hall in Toronto.

“People were buying tickets from scalpers to get into an anti-poverty event,” said the Toronto producer.

Now, he’s bringing Poor No More to Whitehorse as part of the Amnesty International Film Festival this weekend.

The film focuses on Canada’s working poor -“the millions of Canadian’s struggling to make ends meet,” said Langille.

One of them is a woman working at a liquor store in Ontario.

The part-time clerk had to get breast cancer treatments on her lunch hour because she was not given sick days.

“But the film is not just a lament,” said Langille.

“It also offer positive solutions.”

The crew travelled to Sweden to see how things are done in an advanced welfare state.

“Sweden has the best health indicators and social policies in the world,” he said.

“And people there love paying taxes because they get so many benefits and such a high quality of life.”

Screening Poor No More at universities, food banks, union meetings and riding associations across the country, Langille has already seen changes.

Ontario’s Public Service Employees Union used the film to organize a strike pushing to give part-time workers, like the clerk with breast cancer, sick leave.

“It was a short strike,” said Langille.

After seeing the film, the Liquor Control

Board of Ontario caved, giving health benefits to all its part-time employees.

This film is not just for a filmfest crowd, said Langille.

“We wanted it to appeal to ordinary working class people.”

The film’s premise is simple: “If other countries can reduce poverty, why don’t we?”

The Amnesty International Film Festival runs this weekend from Friday November 26th until Sunday November 28th.

It’s at the Old Fire Hall in Whitehorse.

For a festival schedule and to link to film trailers and websites go to

yukonfilmsociety.com.

Contact Genesee Keevil at

gkeevil@yukon-news.com