Fearless TV: Television from Canada’s Poorest Neighbourhood

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 the heels of television activism workshops offered this Spring and last Fall by local organizer Sid 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. In it, Sid Tan talks to Diane Thorn Jacobs, a member of the galleryabout its mission and activities. Carolyn Wong talks with David Eby, a lawyer withPivot Legal Society and author of a report on homelessness and housing in the DTES. Patricia Kelly talks to Paul Taylor, local resident and occupant of an SRO (Single Room Occupancy), the small and usually neglected hotel rooms that most resident live in. Sid Tan talks to Terry Hunter of Vancouver Moving Theatre about upcoming We're All In This Together, a project about addiction and recovery. And Paul Ryan talks with 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.