Press Release

Back to Media Centre

Media Inquiries

For all media inquiries, please contact Jeremy Hunka, Senior Public Relations Specialist, at 604 996 1417 or [email protected].

Homelessness Action Week 2014: UGM presents documentary film on Downtown Eastside Program, Photo 101

Vancouver, BC—What happens when you equip a small group of Downtown Eastside community members with cameras, afford them renowned photographers as instructors, then light a match to ignite their creative genius? Photo 101 is what happens.

Union Gospel is proud to present an advanced screening of its very first documentary, as part of Homelessness Action Week event at SFU Woodward’s on October 15, 2014. Entitled Reflected Light: Exploring Photo 101 on the Downtown Eastside, UGM chronicled participants through the seven week Photo 101 course, witnessed the ups and downs of the creative process and walked alongside the participants as they wrestled with their own complex relationship with the Downtown Eastside and how to convey their emotions through the medium of photography. It’s a short (approx. 30 min) documentary and is certain to show you parts of the DTES like you’ve never seen it before.

“Since I was a kid, I could talk for hours about art, but I never considered myself an artist,” says Photo 101 participant Liam Leishman, a graduate of UGM’s alcohol and drug recovery program. “But then I took Photo101 and everything just clicked. It was like an epiphany or something and I couldn’t get enough. I suddenly realized I can actually be one of these people. I can be an artist. It’s a whole new life.” Leishman, now a member of the Community Arts Council of Vancouver, has participated in several installments of Photo101 and is part of the film.

This special event will give the public an opportunity to connect with the community in unique and inviting ways. After the screening, a panel and Q&A with the cast and creators will take place. Prior to and after the screening, the public can peruse the “pop-up” marketplace where social enterprises will facilitate the sale of pottery, art, crafts, snacks and more made by community members.  Participating groups include: Mission Possible, H. A.V.E. Café, the Window, East Van Roasters, Hope In Shadows, Enterprising Women Making Art (EWMA) and Just Potters.

Another important part of the project is the provision of employment and training to those in the community who face barriers to employment. Thanks to a grant from the City of Vancouver, UGM and SFU are able to hire ushers, greeters and ticket-takers to facilitate the event and to help educate the wider community.

Loretta John has been a part of past employment projects with via Homelessness Action Week through UGM and Mission Possible. This year, she got to participate in the documentary.

“I’m really grateful to be part of the project,” John says, recalling she has come a long way, nearing five years of sobriety. “It breaks people out of their shell and gives them hope. It shows others there’s a better side to what’s happening.” The class culminates with a gallery opening on Friday, November 21, as part of the Eastside Culture Crawl, available to all Vancouverites. Tickets to the Reflected Light screening on October 15 are available at no cost, and are expected to go quickly. To reserve a ticket email [email protected] or call (604) 215-5445 ext 346.

Event Summary

What:            Advanced Screening: Reflected Light: Exploring Photo 101 on the Downtown Eastside, with panel and special marketplace

When:           Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014 @ 7:30PM (doors open at 7PM)

Where:         SFU Woodward’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

Why:              Part of Homelessness Action Week

Cost:              Admission is free, but tickets are required

For Tickets:  To reserve a ticket email [email protected] or call (604) 215-5445 ext 346

Union Gospel Mission has been feeding hope and changing the lives of men, women, and children for over 70 years. Through its 7 locations in Metro Vancouver and the city of Mission, UGM provides counselling, education, safe housing, and alcohol and drug recovery to those struggling with poverty, homelessness, and addiction. The heart of the mission is to demonstrate God’s transforming love, ease the burden of the most vulnerable, rebuild the lives of the broken, and offer dignity to those who feel cast aside. To find out more, visit www.ugm.ca.

-30-

Back to Media Centre