• 2013 Doc Studio Contest Winner

    Read more and watch now

    Craig Allen Conoley's "4 Kids" profiles Jamaal Rogers, whose big family ambitions run counter to the consumerist mentality that corrals many other young parents. 

  • Homeless twice, musician Ryan Kamstra writes an anthem for the marginal people of the city.

  • How Can a Warm Man

    Understand a Cold Man?

    Vac Verikaitis catalogs his own personal descent from globe trotting television producer to another face in line for a meal at a Toronto shelter.

International Feature Documentaries

  • Park Avenue: Money, Power & The American Dream

    Monday Apr. 8 @ 10pm Park Avenue doorman How much inequality is too much?

    740 Park Ave, New York City, is home to some of the wealthiest Americans. Over the Harlem River, 10 minutes to the north, is the other Park Avenue in South Bronx, where more than half the population needs food stamps, and children are 20 times more likely to be killed. In the last 30 years, inequality has rocketed in the US – the American Dream only applies to those with money to lobby politicians for friendly bills on Capitol Hill.

    Director: Alex Gibney | Producer: Blair Foster

    Watch Video
  • Give Us the Money

    Friday Apr. 12 @ 10pm Bono with George Bush How to do good?

    From Live Aid to Make Poverty History, celebrities have become activists against poverty. Bob Geldof and Bono have been the most prominent voices advocating on behalf of the poor. But have their concerts and campaigns really lifted millions out of poverty? Geldof, Bono and Bill Gates speak candidly about the ‘games’ involved in their years of lobbying, and how they played to politicians’ weaknesses for starry glitz and popularity.

    Director: Bosse Lindquist | Producer: David Herdies

    Watch Video
  • Solar Mamas

    Monday Apr. 15 @ 10pm Students from The Barefoot College Are women better at getting out of poverty than men?

    The Barefoot College takes uneducated middle-aged women from poor communities and trains them to become solar engineers in order to create power and jobs in their communities. The college’s 6-month program brings together women from all over the world. Learning about electrical components and soldering without being able to read, write or understand English is the easy part.

    Directors: Mona Eldaief & Jehane Noujaim | Producer: Mette Heide

    Watch Video back to top
  • Welcome to the World

    Friday Apr. 19 @ 10pm Mother and childIs it worse to be born poor than to die poor?

    130 million babies are born each year, and not one of them decides where they’ll be born or how they’ll live. In Cambodia, you’re likely to be born to a family living on less than $1/day. In Sierra Leone, chances of surviving the first year are half those of the worldwide average. In the US, Star’s new baby could well be one of the 1.6 million homeless children now living in the streets. This film takes a worldwide trip to meet the newest generation.

    Director: Brian Hill | Producer: Katie Bailiff

    Watch Video
  • Education, Education

    Monday Apr. 22 @ 10pm Young Chinese boy and bicyle What does an education get you?

    In ancient times in China, education was the only way out of poverty. In recent times it has been the best way. China’s economic boom and talk of the merits of hard work have created an expectation that to study is to escape poverty. But these days, China’s higher education system only leads to jobs for a few, educating a new generation to unemployment and despair.

    Director: Weijun Chen | Producer: Don Edkins

    Watch Video
  • Poor Us

    Friday Apr. 26 @ 10pm Illustration of a diety Do we know what poverty is?

    The poor may always have been with us, but attitudes towards them have changed. Beginning in the Neolithic Age, this film takes us through the changing world of poverty through animated dream sequences that illustrate how people have become poor through the ages. What can we say about poverty today? There are still very poor people, to be sure, but the new poverty has more to do with inequality.

    Director: Ben Lewis | Producer: Femke Volting

    Watch Video
  • Land Rush

    Monday Apr. 29 @ 10pm Man on cart full of straw How do you feed the world?

    75% of Mali’s population are farmers, but rich land-hungry nations like China and Saudi Arabia are leasing Mali’s land in order to turn large areas into agribusiness farms. Many Malian peasants do not welcome these efforts, seeing them as yet another manifestation of imperialism. As Mali experiences a military coup, the developers are scared off – but can Mali’s farmers combat food shortages and escape poverty on their own terms?

    Directors: Hugo Berkeley & Osvalde Lewat | Producer: Eli Cane

    Watch Video
  • Stealing Africa

    Friday May 3 @ 10pm Boy running towards power plant in distance How much profit is fair?

    Ruschlikon is a village in Switzerland with a very low tax rate and very wealthy residents. But it receives more tax revenue than it can use. This is largely thanks to one resident – Ivan Glasenberg, CEO of Glencore, whose copper mines in Zambia are not generating a large bounty tax revenue for the Zambians. Zambia has the 3rd largest copper reserves in the world, but 60% of the population live on less than $1 a day and 80% are unemployed.

    Director: Christoffer Guldbrandsen | Producer: Henrik Veileborg

    Watch Video
back to top

Ontario Short Documentaries

  • The Treasure

    Woman holding garbage bags She doesn’t have much, but it’s worth a lot. The object Amy treasures most.

    What are a poor person’s treasures? For many, a ‘treasure’ has monetary or material value. For people living in poverty, a treasure can represent a link with a very private and very special personal dream world. Can those dreams survive on the street?

    Director: Igor Malakhov. Executive | Producer: Shelley Saywell.

    Watch Video
  • The People’s Guru

    Simran Khalsa The working poor are too busy working to be lazy.

    Is hard work enough to lift someone out of poverty?  A common stereotype is that poor people are poor because they are lazy. The other side of the coin is that poverty is hard work, requiring more than one job just to survive. 50-year-old Simran Khalsa is one of the working poor. He holds down two jobs and still can’t make ends meet.

    Director: Geoff Bowie

    Watch Video
  • Daisa

    Daisa Allurut Far from home. Alone. Broke. How an Inuit woman copes with life in big city Ottawa.

    This intimate  photo essay features Daisa Allurut, an Inuit woman from Arctic Bay, Nunavut, who is trying to rebuild her life, far from home, in Ottawa. Every day she struggles with the fact that her children now live with foster parents. Daisa tells us about her personal fight against poverty and alcohol, about how her life unravelled once she moved away from home, and how it feels to be an Inuit person living in the nation's capital.

    Director: Sonia Boileau

  • back to top

    Losing Power

    Telephone power lines How do exorbitant electricity rates contribute to poverty in Northern Ontario?

    Why do residents of Moose Factory, a northern Ontario Cree community, pay so much more for hydro-electric power than residents in southern Ontario, when the hydro dams on James Bay are practically in their backyard? How do exorbitant hydro rates contribute to poverty in the north?

    Director: Phoebe Sutherland

    Watch Video
  • Teo in Toronto

    Teodoro and young man A migrant worker from Mexico finds poverty in a vegetable garden in Toronto. Or does he?

    Ten years ago director Min Sook Lee shot a documentary about migrant farm workers in southwestern Ontario. She reconnects with migrant worker Teodoro Martinez as he leaves his farm in Leamington, Ontario, and travels to Toronto to meet with community activists to talk about poverty and food security. The film focuses on Teodoro meeting a group of homeless youth who grow their own food in a community garden located in the Toronto neighbourhood of Parkdale.

    Director: Min Sook Lee

    Watch Video
  • No Place Like Home

    Good neighbours club members eating together at table Middle-aged men out of work and out of sight. Where do they go?

    The Good Neighbours' Club is a place of comfort and community for men struggling to make ends meet.  Meet two regulars who don’t fit the stereotype of people living in poverty. They could be your neighbours. This brief glimpse into their lives brings the reality of poverty close to home.

    Director: Karen O’Donnell

    Watch Video
  • To the End of Poverty

    Ryan playing guitar Homeless twice, musician Ryan Kamstra writes an anthem for the marginal people of the city.

    This film features a song by the Indie "pop art" band Tomboyfriend. It’s an exuberant anthem for those who live on the fringe of society. It’s something band leader Ryan Kamstra knows about, revealing how he coped with his own homelessness in his life. He credits his inspiration for this song to economist Jeffrey Sachs’ book, "The End of Poverty".

    Director: Adrienne Amato

    Watch Video
  • How Can a Warm Man Understand a Cold Man?

    Vac Verikaitis How does a rising star end up on the street? A first person account.

    Vac Verikaitis catalogues his own personal descent from successful television | Producer to another face in the lineup for a meal at a Toronto shelter. Today, alone and living on disability, Vac is wracked by severe depression. This is an intimate and painful effort to share his own story and perhaps connect audiences to the reality of a life in poverty.

    Director: Vac Verikaitis

    Watch Video
  • Landlords

    Man panhandling on street Will housing the homeless effect real change? Landlords trying to make a difference.

    “At Home” is an ambitious national social experiment studying the impact of housing on homeless  people with mental health issues.  We follow one of the dedicated social workers whose job it is to find apartments for some of the hard-core homeless. This is an exclusive peek at one chapter of the story being followed by the National Film Board of Canada.  athome.nfb.ca

    Director: Manfred Becker

    Watch Video
  • back to top

    Smoke Traders

    Closeup of cigarettes Is the Native cigarette trade the solution to poverty on First Nation reserves?

    "Smoke Traders" is an excerpt from the documentary of the same name that makes an argument that tobacco sales should be a source of wealth for First Nation people struggling to stay out of poverty. The full length documentary premieres on TVO October 24 at 9pm and features First Nation communities battling governments and the RCMP intent on shutting down what it calls an "illegal" trade in cigarettes.

    Director: Jeff Dorn

    Watch Video (Short) Watch Video (Full)

  • Sarah Helps Out

    Sarah How does a 9-year old girl inspire a food drive in her community? One idea at a time.

    Sara is a 9-year-old with a mission: she wants to help the local food bank feed hungry people in her community.  Her efforts prompt her neighbours and friends to collect more than a ton and a half of food. Sara’s food bank campaign earns a TVO Super Citizen award.

    Director: Julie Patterson

    Watch Video

International Short Documentaries

  • In Your Hands


    A Colombian favella is home to many dark possibilities: violence and drugs are only two. But poverty is not going to stop Yair.  Follow him on a tour of his neighbourhood and you’ll be surprised where he leads you. Yair’s main lesson: it’s in your hands to achieve your dreams.

    Director: Lucas Nieto

    Watch Video
  • Waste

    Pile of discarded foodstuffs

    Every year hundreds of millions of tons of food are thrown away. Why?

    Director: Valentin Thurn

    Watch Video
  • back to top


    Wilbur holding portable radio

    Wilbur Sargunaraje, India’s first You Tube star is famous for his video that showed westerners how to use an eastern toilet. In his irreverent style, Wilbur looks at poverty and inequality in India.  In this episode Wilbur offers a solution to the problem of poverty.

    Director: Adrien Roche

    Watch Video
  • The Thread

    Blanca and mom in the rain

    All across Latin America, families from different social backgrounds spend enormous amounts of money when a girl’s 15th birthday arrives. A big party is held to introduce her to society, as it marks the transition from childhood to young womanhood. This is the story of Blanca, who found the opportunity to emancipate herself by helping the poorer girls of the village participate in the festivities.

    Director: Alicia Cano

    Watch Video
  • back to top

    Morris’s Bag

    Morris at work

    Kibera, the biggest slum in Nairobi, has little greenery. We negotiate the tight passages between the cinderblock shanties and eventually emerge on a field of green. It is covered in upright sacks with plants growing in all directions. Morris demonstrates how a single sack filled with earth can help feed his family for a year.

    Director: Michelle Mellara & Alessandro Rossi

    Watch Video
  • Finding Josephine

    Josephine with fellow children

    A family in the UK has been supporting a child in Uganda via a charity. The father and small daughter travel from UK to Uganda to see if charity makes a difference: to them or to the child.

    Director: Tomas Sheridan

    Watch Video back to top
  • Poop on Poverty

    Women holding vessels on heads

    In Pushkar, India, tens of thousands of tourists come to experience a religious festival and the biggest camel fair in the world. But within the festivities, beyond the exotic veneer, there is a group of women who collect the best fuel available for their everyday lives: camel dung.

    Director: Vijay Jodha

    Watch Video
  • Town and Country

    Boy smoking

    In China there is a vast gap between those that grow up and go to school in rural or urban areas. Even the youngest kids know this.

    Director: Louis Meyer

    Watch Video
  • The New Poor

    Paco Pascual

    Paco Pascual used to run one of Spain’s top renovation companies. It was a large family business that he and his brothers made successful by competing for, and gaining, government contracts to refurbish buildings. That was before the economic collapse in Europe.  Poverty has a new meaning for Paco and his family.

    Director: Justin Webster

    Watch Video
  • Sea Gypsies

    Sea gypsy with headscarf

    Struggling to survive, despite increasing government restrictions on her livelihood, Indanina, a determined Sea Gypsy, fantasizes about life beyond her idyllic coral island.  But the modern world, which she discovers when she is forced to move to a city with her family, is anything but easy.

    Director: Elena Zervopoulou

    Watch Video

back to top