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Social justice documentaries return to White Rock following 2-year hiatus

Film society begins monthly screenings at Community Centre with Vancouver: No Fixed Address
Judy Graves, speaker at the upcoming Social Justice Film Society screening of the documentary Vancouver: No Fixed Address, engages with two homeless people in Vancouver. Contributed photo

One of the Semiahmoo Peninsula’s greatest resources – for those who like thought-provoking documentaries as part of their film menu – is back.

The White Rock Social Justice Film Society, dormant for the last two years due to COVID restrictions, will return to the White Rock Community Centre Friday (April 29, doors open at 6:30 p.m., screening at 7 p.m.) with Vancouver: No Fixed Address.

Directed by Charles Wilkinson, and featuring Quelemia Sparrow, David Suzuki and Angel Chang, it’s a telling examination of a pressing issue: homelessness and Greater Vancouver’s housing crisis.

It’s not simply a summary of already familiar supply-shortage problems – Wilkinson has taken time to talk to a wide array of Vancouverites; ranging from new arrivals and long-time residents who would stay if they could, but find themselves being forced out by rapidly increasing prices; to academics, policy makers, journalists and others, who work directly in the housing industry, who can provide insights on why the situation exists and may be able to suggest some solutions.

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One of the other regular features of the WRSJFS evenings – a post-screening speaker who will also engage in discussion with audience members – is also back, according to new society volunteer and publicist Pat Higinbotham.

For this film it will be Judy Graves, former advocate for the homeless for the City of Vancouver, she said.

For some 33 years Graves was the public face of City Hall to those living in Vancouver’s streets and shelters, she added.

“She retired from City Hall in 2013, but she’s still very passionate about it,” she said, noting that Graves was concerned with long-term strategies to to get the safe and secure housing the city needed to keep people off the streets.

“The film is about an hour and a half long, so it should be a good, full evening that will stimulate discussion,” she said.

A number of local non-profits concerned with housing, homelessness and other social issues will have information tables in the foyer of the community centre prior to the film presentation, Higinbotham said, including Sources, UNITI, Peninsula Homeless to Housing and the Global Peace Alliance BC Society.

Higinbotham said she got involved with WRSJFS after responding to a call for volunteers on Facebook.

A retired professional photographer with a strong interest in social issues, Higinbotham said it “sounded like a good way to re-enter society” after two years of COVID inaction.

“I’m hoping it will be a hub for social activism on the Peninsula,” said Higinbotham. “To me it helps raise the necessary awareness to inspire action.”

Film screenings take place the last Friday of each month, except July and August, when the society winds down for the summer, and are fully accessible at the community centre (15154 Russell Ave.)

While admission is by donation, participants can also support the work of the non-profit society by buying a ‘lifetime membership’ at $20, Higinbotham said.

While the next presentation has yet to be announced, Higinbotham said it’s sure to be an equally provocative and timely choice.

“There’s no shortage of really interesting documentaries,” she said.

Tickets are available at the door, or through

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