It’s called The Chicken Manure Incident, and you can rent it for $3 or own it for $5. Due to recent events in Abbotsford, BC, where the documentary takes place, I had made an earlier cut available. This new version features better audio and new graphics.
I’ve already screened the film in Abbotsford and Edmonton with more screenings to come. Randal Rauser just posted his response to the film as well as an interview with me, and Mike Archer of Abbotsford Today posted a review of the premiere screening.
If you would like to review the film on your blog or in your publication, please let me know and I can send you a digital screener. Also, if you’d like to screen it publicly for your church, small group, college or organization, please let me know. I’m making it available to such groups in exchange for a donation.
In case you’ve never heard of the film, here is a brief description:
Early in the morning on June 4, 2013, workers from the City of Abbotsford, BC pulled up to a homeless camp on the side of the road and dumped a truckload of chicken manure on the site while those who had been sleeping there scrambled to pull their belongings out of the way.
Intended as a “quick and dirty” way to disperse this “problem population,” little did those who concocted the scheme realize the public outcry and the legal actions that would unfold. Forced to apologize for their behavior after a barrage of critical media coverage, the City is now facing a class action lawsuit on behalf of the homeless, and an internal investigation was launched into charges of property destruction and other abusive behavior toward the homeless allegedly perpetuated by members of the Abbotsford City Police.
Throughout this ordeal, two of the most prominent advocates on behalf of Abbotsford’s homeless population have been Ward Draper and Jesse Wegenast of 5&2 Ministries, a rather unorthodox, frontline ministry to marginalized members of the Abbotsford community.
As luck would have it, just prior to this incident I had filmed an interview with Ward with the intention of doing a few ride-alongs and creating a short profile of their ministry. But as this incident unfolded, I realized I had inadvertently stumbled onto a much bigger story that had implications not only for the city of Abbotsford but for the issue of homelessness at large.
Over the next couple of months I continued to capture the situation as it developed, filming extensively around the city and interviewing Ward, Jesse, Mayor Bruce Banman, Chief Constable Bob Rich, several members of Abbotsford’s homeless population and various service providers. What emerged was a story of a deeply divided community, torn between their desire to help “the least of these” while at the same time providing an environment of freedom and justice for all of its citizens.
In the months following “the chicken manure incident,” the conflict between Abbotsford’s homeless population and the City of Abbotsford has continued to escalate with no real solutions in sight. By presenting voices from all sides of the conversation, I’m hoping The Chicken Manure Incident can play a small part in helping inspire positive change not only in Abbotsford but in other communities that are facing similar problems.
I should also note that this is an indie project in the truest sense of the word. Not only did I write, direct and produce the film, for the most part, I functioned as a one-man crew, handling video and sound simultaneously. I also edited the film and handled virtually every aspect of post-production. Many thanks to Mr. Bennett, who gave me carte blanche access to his musical catalog, and to Yuca, who graciously allowed me to use one of their songs in yet another film.