The homeless men of Toronto during COVID-19

Allan Cullen is a disability activist. He is an award wining graduate of the art centre, a three year arts program at Central Tech where he studied Fine Arts. His work documents social issues particularly homelessness and disability. He has had his work shown at numerous galleries over the past decade.

Allan knows difficulty, hardship and what it means to live “rough” in the city. He has endured a tough life and existence and uses his life and art to bring to light the experience of those inhabiting the streets and shelters of Toronto, the city’s homeless community. During the global COVID-19 pandemic, this mission has only grown of import. While those with homes have been able to quarantine, to quote Allan “ The Streets are not empty”, as this disenfranchised segment of our society has had an even harsher experience.

This film project, fully recognizes the difficulty of the subject matter in all respects (ethics, challenge in production, sensitivity. The proposed film project will be focused on Allan, his work, and his exploration of this subject matter. Allan has been active through the pandemic (fortunately still at good health), and has compiled footage. This project will compile the footage, work it together with him, his presence, input, and will be a combination of the exploration of the subject matter, and of Allan’s exploration of it.

The proposed short film will have a length of 12-15 minutes. It will be engaged with Allan on his artists mission and work, it will introduce and be interspersed with his interviews with homeless men, as well as his photography. There will also be a poetic and musical component provided by Anthony Van Zant, a collaborator of Allan’s who is a street survivor with lived experience “on the curb” who will be providing poetry and music for this film.

Allan Cullen Photo by Sean Howard, 2016

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