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TVO gives 10 Ontario filmmakers a voice to share their unique perspectives about local poverty as part of the global Why Poverty? campaign

by aanationtalk on October 25, 2012523 Views

Toronto, Oct. 25, 2012 – As one of 70 broadcasters participating in the worldwide Why Poverty? initiative, TVO commissioned 10 Ontario short films witnessing the stories of people dealing with poverty. The Ontario short films are showcased on TVO’s dedicated Why Poverty? site,, as well as on-air as interstitials. In commissioning the Ontario filmmakers, TVO showcases films that challenge commonly held perceptions of poverty, and gives a local perspective to a global discussion.

Building on its commitment to inform and engage Ontarians on important issues, TVO’s Ontario short films examine topics ranging from the working poor to alcoholism. In How Can a Warm Man Understand a Cold Man, filmmaker Vac Verikaitis reflects on his descent from successful television producer to living on $25 a day and eating at a soup kitchen. In Daisa, director Sonia Boileau tells the story of a mother who loses custody of her children, turns to alcohol and ends up on the streets in Ottawa. And, filmmaker Igor Malakhov uncovers what possession is most valuable to one homeless person in Toronto in The Treasure.

“TVO is proud to have enabled these 10 filmmakers to tell stories dealing with local poverty,” says Jane Jankovic, TVO’s commissioning editor. “As TVO encourages participation in an international debate, it’s important Ontarians have an understanding of what poverty looks like in Canada.”

As the only Ontario broadcaster, TVO’s Why Poverty? campaign investigates poverty both globally and locally through documentaries, short films, a dedicated website, in-community events and on social media platforms. Complete Why Poverty? campaign details are available here. Join the international discussion now with #whypoverty on Twitter (@TVO and @askwhypoverty and by liking Why Poverty? on Facebook.

Ontario Short Film Descriptions 

Director: Sonia Boileau
This intimate photo essay featuring an Inuit woman from Arctic Bay, Daisa Allurut, shows Daisa’s fight to rebuild her life in Ottawa. After her children are taken from her, Daisa turns to alcohol for comfort. This film shares her fight against alcoholism and poverty and her hopes of regaining custody of her children. 

How Can a Warm Man Understand a Cold Man?
Director: Vac Verikaitis
Vac Verikaitis offers a moving account of his journey from globetrotting TV producer to surviving on $25 a day and eating in a soup kitchen. In How Can a Warm Man Understand a Cold Man? Vac reflects on past mistakes that led to job loss, divorce, and addiction issues. This intimate film challenges commonly held perceptions of poverty. 

Director: Manfred Becker 
Landlords profiles At Home, an ambitious national social experiment studying the impact of housing on homeless people with mental health issues. This film follows a dedicated social worker from At Home who finds apartments for the homeless living in critical conditions. Landlords looks at one chapter of the story being profiled by the National Film Board of Canada.

Losing Power 
Director: Phoebe Sutherland
Losing Power questions why residents of Moose Factory, a northern Ontario Cree community, pay more for hydro-electric power than residents in southern Ontario. The short film shows how the cost of hydro contributes to poverty in the north, despite having the hydro dams in their backyard on James Bay.

No Place Like Home
Director: Karen O’Donnell
No Place Like Home is a glimpse into the lives of two regulars at The Good Neighbours’ Club in Toronto, a place for middle-aged men struggling to make ends meet. Anxious to get their lives back on track, these two don’t fit the stereotype of people living in poverty. Both men experienced job loss due to injury, showing how quickly luck can turn.

People’s Guru
Director: Geoff Bowie
People’s Guru explores the stereotype that poor people are poor because they are lazy. Fifty year-old Simran Khalsa is one of the working poor. Simran has two jobs, can’t make ends meet, and can’t get ahead.

Smoke Traders
Director: Jeff Dorn
Smoke Traders is an excerpt from the documentary of the same name that examines the Mohawk Nation’s involvement in the tobacco trade. Raising issues of sovereignty, economic independence, and entrepreneurship versus illegal activity, Smoke Traders shows how cigarettes have been an economic boon for Native communities, providing jobs and community services and lifting them out of what some members of the community consider “third world” status. 

Teo in Toronto
Director: Min Sook Lee
Ten years after shooting a documentary about migrant farming in Southern Ontario, director Min Sook Leereconnected with migrant worker Teodoro Martinez, to make Teo in Toronto. In the film, Teodoro leaves his farm in Leamington and travels to Toronto to meet with homeless youth to discuss poverty and food security.

The Treasure
Director: Igor Malakhov
For many, a “treasure” has monetary or material value. The Treasure focuses on Amy, a Toronto homeless person whose most valuable possession is her journal. Amy always carries her journal with her, sometimes chronicling about her life on the streets up to 10 times a day.

To the End of Poverty
Director: Adrienne Amato
The short film features “To the End of Poverty,” a song by the Indie pop art band Tomboyfriend and inspired by economist Jeffrey Sachs’ book, The End of Poverty. Creating an exuberant anthem for people living on the fringe of society, band leader Ryan Kamstra can relate to living as an outsider, revealing how he coped with his past homelessness.

About TVO
TVO is Ontario’s public educational media organization and a trusted source of interactive educational content that informs, inspires and stimulates curiosity and thought. TVO’s vision is to empower people to be engaged citizens of Ontario through educational media. TVO is funded primarily by the Province of Ontario and is a registered charity supported by sponsors and thousands of donors. For more information, visit

Where to Find TVO

On air:
Cable channel 2 (may vary in some areas)
Bell TV channel 209
TVO HD on Bell Fibe TV channel 1209
Rogers TVO HD channel 580
Rogers-On-Demand channel 100
Shaw Direct channel 353

Websites: Online:
BlackBerry App World™ Connect:

For further information:

Media Contact for TVO:
Nicole Morrison
TVO Communications and Marketing
416.484.2600 x 2281


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