A Documentary Film by Kirk Bennett
"A BRUTALLY FRANK EXPOSE OF OUR TIMES"
Hear their stories, see their world, then ...
taste YOUR freedom.
Montreal Director of TASTE YOUR FREEDOM,
Bennett, creates an eye opening film about the triumphs and tragedies of
life on the streets of Montreal and in hidden places in order to expose the struggles and
resources of poverty. Spanning ten years the documentary exposes the
development of an increasing human tragedy affecting every community.
12-17-2013 - Updated 12-17-2016
Taste Your Freedom
I have been overwhelmed by the sheer number of entities requesting
exposure in the film and reassured that the messages Taste Your Freedom
aims to convey will certainly be brought to the screen.
CKUT Homeless Marathon - 11th edition
University's radio station CKUT
holds a 12 hour sundown to sunup radio marathon each year to stimulate
awareness of the issues that surround homelessness and life in the
streets. Each year many radio stations join forces to participate in
this highly valuable event as they simulcast the show with interviews and
www.mediacoop.ca (for the national and local Montreal marathon streams)
www.ckut.ca (for the Montreal local marathon)
Dangerously cold again
Prompted by the extreme cold Montreal is currently experiencing, I today recounted the following ...
out filming a couple of winters ago in these temperatures I saw a man
standing in front of the AMC Forum (formerly the Montreal Forum), poorly
dressed, and literally freezing to death. He was so cold he could not
move, not one bit. Thankfully security
from inside the building had noticed him standing there for a time and
called police who were on the spot. The man already visibly had frostbite,
no hat no mittens, no scarf, but could not be moved. The cop told me that
it would be dangerous to try to move him inside immediately and that an
ambulance was on the way. It was scary to see someone at the edge of life
and death. When the ambulance arrived the attendant told me, "Another
ten to fifteen minutes and this guy would have died - he was literally
freezing to death on the spot."
The humiliation factor
Today I made the following comment on social media:
are so right - and I am sorry to hear of your own feelings of humiliation
when you were young, these are emotions that stay with us our entire lives
and mold us to a degree sometimes for the better, but not always,
especially when (and particularly in the case of humiliation) we are
thrust into uncomfortable or (sometimes) traumatic situations which
repeatedly erode our self-worth and confidence.
Footnote: All humans have a right to their dignity.
Today production continued with coverage of Allison Beaudoin and her children taking to the streets to offer food and clothing to organizations and individuals in need.
After some planning I met up with
just a couple of hours after she had distributed to a couple of shelters
goods she'd gathered from her Chateauguay community in the weeks leading
up to Christmas. This was her first time out to the streets with her three
children, Dustyn, Brenna, and Chance, to help people with gifts
of food, some blankets and socks. She hopes to conduct collections
and distributions like this twice a year. She relies on a small team
of volunteers to help her collect and deliver the goods to small
organizations helping the needy.
The Cost Of Poverty
Here are some statistics about social
pressures in Canada. We all pay - YOU can help, YOU can make a
Update info - more content, longer film
Production continues with more content than anticipated. This pushes back the predicted completion date of the film as Taste Your Freedom continues to gather the content needed to adequately fulfill it's goals of exposing the triumphs and tragedies of life on the streets of Montreal.
You have likely noticed that the homelessness problem has increased, there certainly are more homeless than ever in almost every major city the globe over and now the smaller towns and villages are beginning to experience the seriousness at a level that is overwhelming all communities.
Montreal's West Island which used to be a
well-to-do bastion is now suffering under crushing economic pressures as
the middle class feels the pressure of lost jobs and increasing prices on
everything from cereal to gasoline and higher property taxes. A
recent documentary short produced by a youth outreach organization asks
the question, "Do you feel that the West Island is full of rich
people?" to which replies are belly laughs, guffaws and scowls.
Still the misperception persists for many that this part of Montreal is
somehow immune to the ravages of poverty, however we see examples every
day now of the increasing numbers of "invisible homeless"
(people sleeping in cars, sofa-surfing, never-ending crashing with friends
and relatives) who blend in to our everyday lives. Then there
are the obvious ones who panhandle at malls, are seen picking through
garbage bins and dumpsters or even a few who can be seen sleeping behind
malls, stores and sometimes even in the backyards of residences.
Final call for score
Montreal Director of TASTE YOUR FREEDOM,
Taste Your Freedom today issues a final call for score submissions. The deadline for submissions is July 1, 2012.
Numerous composers have committed their creations to the film and now I make a final invitation to all Montreal composers to submit their works for consideration to be included in the social documentary Taste Your Freedom. This invitation is open to all genres of music and score which can reflect the emotion, the energy, and /or the scope of the film's subject-matter.
Once all the selections have been made I will begin to make public the names of the selected composers.
If you or someone you know is looking for an opportunity to participate in the making of Taste Your Freedom, is looking for universal exposure (the film has already generated interest in all four corners of the world and on all continents including Antarctica), and wishes to participate in making a difference in society by helping to expose the multi-faceted struggles and triumphs of Montreal's dynamic life on the streets, I invite you to submit original works which are available for licensing to the film.
Thank-you to all who submit their art. All submissions are held in confidence until licensing has been arranged and all selections have been made.
Kirk Bennett - Director
TASTE YOUR FREEDOM
"A BRUTALLY FRANK EXPOSE OF OUR TIMES"
stories, see their world, then
© 2012 Taste Your Freedom
- 30 -
Demonstrations in Montreal escalating
Taste Your Freedom has been closely monitoring the ongoing situation in the streets of Montreal which began some eleven weeks ago beginning with students all across the province protesting tuition hikes. At one point 200,000 students peacefully took to the streets in a mass demonstration against the hikes which the provincial government headed by a very stubborn Premier (Jean Charest) and (strictly unilingual French) Minister of Education Line Beauchamp both of them refusing to negotiate with students. To this date they have not entered into any concrete discussions with the representatives of the student body.
What you see happening in the streets is a refection of YOU and ME and
who we are collectively. Give it some thought, some more thought, and
then some serious consideration.
They are elderly - Is anyone out there?
As I continue to shoot for Taste Your Freedom and as I go about my own life I am confronted by an ever-increasing number of homeless people. Winter is far from over yet and the number of people asking for money, food or any sort of handout never ceases to increase. Somehow I thought things would get better by now, the number would dwindle, but I was wrong.
One particularly disturbing trend I am noticing is the sudden increase in the number of elderly who now must come to the streets and subways to find someone, anyone, who will spare some change or food. It makes me want to cry but I know now that "tears are not enough" (as some wise person wrote) and so my resolve to bring this film to the screen is renewed. This is a diabolical project only less so than the circumstances these forgotten souls are suffering through.
I will soon be asking for YOUR HELP to help me help them. Will you, please? Is anyone out there? Is anyone listening?
Full production resumes
Production on Taste Your Freedom resumed today and it is time to round the final corner of production. This means a huge push foreward with the many facets of the film still on paper and waiting to be realized.
Shooting downtown today, in between one-on-one street interviews, I cam across "Gilles" who is the longest-standing homeless man I have ever known. Gilles became one of Montreal's first victims of "deinstitutionalization," the term used for the dumping of psychiatric patients onto the streets where they must fend for themselves usually under the influence of heavy medications and on families or services that have always been inadequate to meet their special and complex needs.
I first met Gilles when I was still in high-school, over 40 years now, and he was living in an adjacent community to where I was raised. He would hang out at a local park and listen to me and my friends playing music - he seemed to always be there and just digging the scene as it were. He had and appears to still have a very tender and timid personality although I can only imagine what might happen when he is not properly medicated. I've seen him talking to walls and beings not visible to me - I do believe he may be schizophrenic - who wouldn't be schizoid after enough years on the street. We are almost the same age, in fact I believe he is actually a couple of years younger than I am but for many years now he has looked much older with white hair. Gilles is unable to communicate much - I've seen him abused on the streets over the decades, beaten, bloodied and bruised, broken and chronically ill both emotionally and physically. Now it is winter and he stands always in the same place with bare hand out and asks in a very timid way for change; you can barely hear his voice and at times all that is forthcoming from him is an un-intelligible murmur. For some reason and perhaps it is simply because I've known him from the past, a past which has undoubtedly long ago faded from Gilles, I feel connected to him in particular no matter how many other street and homeless people I meet. It is not possible to interview him because of his inability to communicate yet I feel that Gilles is, to a large degree, central to the film.
There is a very thick thread through most of the interviews I've conducted for this film; don't become ill! Most of the subjects in the film have fallen on hard times after becoming ill either emotionally or otherwise; many have physical disabilities ranging from badly damaged limbs or sight, which leads quickly to the loss of employment and soon afterwards loss of home, family, and courage. Once the soul and psyche are corrupted and your support system is destroyed the chances of a full return to one's life is certainly possible but the odds appear to be horrible. I am told that on average if one doesn't get off the streets in less than a year, typically 6 months, the odds of successfully overcoming your situation drop by more than half.
I would like to add that fully two thirds of the people I've interviewed on the streets have expressed willingness to work, to take (in most cases) "anything," but finding a job without a home address and a telephone is all but impossible.
The struggle continues.
Director of Taste Your Freedom gives presentation to Quebec
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