Cardington Apartments controversy now a movie

When Sean-Michael Williams’ five-year venture into documentaries premiers next week, No Place To Be will prove the most exhaustive project of his career to date, and likely the local movie premier of the year.

  • Mar. 4, 2011 10:00 a.m.

It started as a way to get a little exposure as he worked toward his true love—scripted film.

But when Sean-Michael Williams’ five-year venture into documentaries premiers next week, No Place To Be will prove the most exhaustive project of his career to date, and likely the local movie premier of the year.

“We were thinking about making a movie like this before and it just kind of sat there until I heard about the Cardington Apartments controversy on the radio one morning,” said Williams.

He got out the camera and collected interviews of businessmen Jim Carter and Mel Kotler’s campaign against the facility. He spoke with The John Howard Society’s executive director, Shelley Cook.

He covered benefit concerts for the homeless and addicted individuals they encountered and even captured the now defunct Downtown Drop-In Centre on film. And the footage started stacking up.

Paired with local musicians on the soundtrack, the film should prove a remarkable look at one of this city’s top social issues and the unique battled waged over the downtown streets.

While it may seem a moot point now, Williams said he does, to some extend, understand the business lobbyists’ concerns because they did have a legitimate fear that the individuals brought to the St. Paul’s transitional housing complex to develop a better life for themselves would somehow drive out business.

“I was trying to share things fairly and they do have, you might say, a little legitimate fear,” he said. “They were worried that people who were homeless were going to drive people away from the businesses downtown and there was a lot of fear in the public.

“It turned out, in the end, to be all for nothing. But at the time, who knew?” he said.

The movie premier will open the ninth annual visit of The Travelling World International Film Festival.

Started in Comox, the festival tours through Okanagan College each year and has become a very popular event in town with roughly 500 people expected to see the films over the three days.

Organizer Jason Bednar said he is looking forward to several films but expects Soundtrack for a Revolution, about the music played during the American civil rights movement might be among the top picks.

The film festival runs Mar. 10-13. Admission is free, though donations are gladly accepted for the Kelowna Women’s Resource Centre and the Ki-low-na Friendship Centre (

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