Fearless TV was born in the poverty and resilience of Vancouver’s Downtown East Side (DTES), Canada’s poorest and most vulnerable neighbourhood. Occupying a 25 block radius a little east of Vancouver’s business district, the DTES is home to over 5,000 intravenous drug users, and staggering levels of poverty, HIV infection rates, and social malaise. But it is also home to a vibrant creative community of residents, activists and artists. Fearless TV is television made in the DTES by people who live and work there.
The show was created on in the aftermath of a series of television activism workshops offered by local organizer Sid Chow Tan, founder of Access TV and long time community television activist. Tan explained that the workshops were designed to introduce people to community television and how to use it as a tool for social and political change. The response was so positive, they decided to make a show.
Fearless TV brings together creative resources from a number of community groups — the DTES Community Arts Network (DTES-CAN), des media, Access TV and Gallery Gachet. Together, they are working to share the stories and points of view of the people who live in the DTES with the wider community.
The first episode was made in a month and shot on location at Gallery Gachet. It features Diane Thorn Jacobs talking about Gallery Gachet’s mission and activities; David Eby, a lawyer with Pivot Legal Society and author of a report on homelessness and housing in the DTES; Paul Taylor, local resident and occupant of an SRO (single room occupancy), the small and usually criminally neglected hotel rooms that most local residents live in; Terry Hunter of Vancouver Moving Theatre talking about We’re All In This Together, a new project about addiction and recovery; and Kim Kerr, executive director of the Downtown Eastside Residents’ Association (DERA).
The show has its debut airing on April 4 at 8 pm (cable 4) in the Lower Mainland.
Fearless TV isn’t available online yet, but to find out when it will be, or for more information, contact Sid Tan at accesstv[at]telus.net.