V6A ON HAMYAARI MEDIA - Sima Ghaffarzadeh
V6A in Farsi!
This was a very pleasant surprise.. and even more surprising was to read my name in Farsi: “روجرو رومانو” 😅
Farsi readers can dive in right here!
You can find a translation by the amazing Arman Kazemi down below!
“Codes that close people off”
Posted on January 12, 2019 – by Hamyaari Media
Regarding the documentary film V6A by Ruggero Romano, a young Italian filmmaker, about homelessness in Vancouver’s downtown eastside
Sima Ghaffarzadeh – Vancouver
In all honesty, after twenty years living in Canada, with roughly thirteen spent in B.C., it was only fairly recently I realized how important a postal code could be, and to what extent it could serve to divide people. Just a few months ago, when I told a Canadian friend that I was moving to such-and-such an address in Port Moody, they said, “Awesome! That’s such a great postal code to live in!” That’s when I understood that postal codes weren’t just for the sake of administrative purposes or to help out postal workers. It seemed they also served to enshrine the gap between rich and poor.
Like many of you, I have passed through East Hastings Street countless times, and, like many, mostly by car. I didn’t dare walk in the streets. I’ll never forget my first year working in Vancouver when I was in my co-worker’s car driving back from a work site to our head office in downtown and stopping at a red light at the intersection of Main and Hastings. As soon as we stopped, my co-worker forced down the lock button on the car doors and, seeing how surprised I looked, cast a glance at the homeless people on the sidewalk and said better safe than sorry.
Over the years, Vancouver has frequently been rated the most liveable city in the world. But that’s not its only global distinction: Vancouver has also been ranked highest with respect to the gap between haves and have-nots. The overdose crisis and drug abuse are nothing new. Last year, 369 people in Vancouver lost their lives to drug overdose, or about one person every day, and everyone knows the inexorable link between poverty and opioids… is existence of organizations charged with dealing with this crisis a good enough reason for ordinary citizens like us to pass by with indifference? When we do happen to cross pass by, should we look down at those on the sidewalk with a sense of regret or even turn our backs, not knowing that each face has a story to tell, each person has something to offer and, what’s more important, that many may have a different understanding of life and existence than you and I who may not have borne the suffering they have or walked a mile in their shoes?
A young man by the name of Ruggero Romano, 22, who came to Vancouver from Italy in order to study filmmaking and whose first film explores the homeless situation in Hastings, is alive to these questions. When he moved here by himself three years ago, Ruggero was so moved by the homelessness, poverty and addiction he saw in the local population that he created the documentary film, entitled V6A, in order to bring to life this neighbourhood, popularly called the Downtown Eastside. I wince with shame when I think what little I’ve done for these residents, except turn my back on them…
V6A defies audience expectations in a spectacular way, depicting as it does not only the daily fight for survival that homeless people in this area face, but also wonderfully drawing out the spirit and resilience of the individuals in this documentary through their own words by posing the simple question “What does ‘home’ mean?” Individuals of all races, ages and colours: the old man who always wears a knit rainbow hat because he believes that one day he will see peace on earth; the man who preaches a personal philosophy, saying “when we stop fearing death, when we stop fearing fear, then we can truly understand what it means to be human and connect with each other.”
A young woman playing the guitar by the side of the road says “if you treat someone like a human being, they’ll react like a human being. I think what’s kept me going until now is that someone gave me that chance…” The young man who admits being stoned (which is evident from the way he talks), says “nothing matters, the world means nothing, and when you figure that out, there’s nothing left: you’re free.” And a dozen other people, obviously under the influence, play a strong role in the movie.
A lot could be written about this film, but alas there’s only so much room in one article. I saw this beautiful movie during its world premier at the Italian Film Festival last Sunday and I felt I needed to write about it. This review is just a reminder to myself and everyone else that you don’t need to change the world in order to fight poverty and disease: the small communities that need our help are close by and just under our nose.
Big thanks to Sima Ghaffarzadeh and Hamyaari Media for writing about V6A and spreading the word!
As of now we sold out the first 3 screenings of V6A. More to come in early February at the Vancity Theatre, with Q&A and Artistic Exhibition to colour the screenings. See you there!
Tickets here: https://viff.org/Online/fc9960-v6a
More is to come… stay tuned to never miss a frame of this adventure!
Join me in this journey dedicated to all who Love Life, and Live Love.
by Ruggero Romano