WHAT WORLD DO YOU LIVE IN? is a provocative, grass roots documentary project on police and security guard violence as experienced by Sanctuary, a Toronto church drop-in community. Unique footage from Toronto’s G20 and other anti-poverty and police violence demonstrations ties the Sanctuary community’s experiences to timely discussions of police racism, abuse, and militarization in Toronto and beyond.Director Rebecca Garrett uniquely translates the structures and principles of community-based art and theatre into feature length documentary filmmaking. WHAT WORLD DO YOU LIVE IN? arises out of a commitment to those most affected by police violence and militarization and the importance for them to tell their own stories, on equal footing, well beyond the sound-bytes sometimes allowed into journalistic media. The Sanctuary community itself determined that it wanted the project to be seen by as wide of an audience as possible without compromising its collectively facilitated voice. As the project evolved from a community-based documentary and activism project into a full-length feature, choices were made accordingly. The documentary showcases powerful, previously unreleased footage including from inside Toronto’s G20 jail cages as well as from the beating of a citizen journalist at an anti-homelessness demonstration. As North Americans and the wider world continue to ask questions about police violence and racism in the wake of events such as those in Ferguson, Missouri, this documentary is a timely project. Prominent sections of the film foregrounds stories and analysis from Toronto’s black and indigenous communities. Midway through, conflict erupts within the Sanctuary community over nonviolent responses to overwhelming police impunity. Meanwhile, the increasing militarization of public spaces forces us all to ask whether calling on police is the best option when social conflict arises. Deliberately raw and direct, this project involved a unique mix of filmmaking and activism. While the denouement of WHAT WORLD DO YOU LIVE IN? foregrounds multiple forms of political resistance to police violence, the project as a whole challenges a wider audience to consider honestly what the job of police actually is and whether this understaning is consistent with a society we want to live in.
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