A new Canadian documentary film, due out this spring, uses social media to tell an alternative story about Vancouver’s Winter Olympics. It follows four individuals who “rallied” their community through social networking tools, to help empower the homeless and poor – who don’t necessarily fit into grand Olympic plans. The idea was to use mobile and online media to “provide a voice for those left behind”. (Hat-tip: Jon Slattery)
It draws on video blogging, photo-sharing and social networking to bring a “marginalised” community to the fore, “embracing leading-edge communication technologies, to empower, inspire, and break down the digital divide,” its producers say. The synopsis:
February 12, 2010. Sixty thousand people have gathered in Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium to revel in the spectacle that is the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympic Games. It marks the beginning of a two week party that will focus a global spotlight on this city of half a million and, organizers hope, finally put to rest seven years of surrounding controversy. A few days earlier, a year long campaign which saw police issue hundred dollar jaywalking and spitting tickets to homeless people, had culminated in a successful sweep of the city’s impoverished Downtown Eastside to relocate undesirables to outlying communities.
When the story finally makes it to the mainstream news channels, it’s thanks to the diligence and combined power of a few concerned citizens, their video-streaming cellphones and the Internet. With Glowing Hearts will give audiences the chance to see the world through the eyes of four such citizens, as they rally their community around powerful new Social Media tools to show its true heart to the world. Based on the premise that the access to information is a human right, the film and accompanying website, will take audiences on a year long journey into the creation of an independent Olympic media center designed to guarantee that access in a community whose voice is frequently ignored.
Here’s the trailer: