Since a car accident in 1996, 37-year-old Murray Siple from North Vancouver has been a C6-7 quadriplegic, which means he has limited use of his arms and hands. Having previously studied photography and film at The Emily Carr Institute in Vancouver, Siple continued with his passion, filming skateboarding and snowboarding, after the accident. With the help of a few friends and associates he’d known previously from the action-sports film biz comes Carts of Darkness.
The film has been picked up by the National Film Board of Canada and showcases an urban recycling phenomenon that exists among homeless people in Vancouver. But this particular group transports its goods at high speeds, on shopping carts, navigating North Van’s infamously steep hills. Siple helped shed light on this project, which is slated for completion in time to appear at the 2007 Whistler Film Festival, Nov. 29–Dec. 2.
ORIGINS OF THE FILM
“There’s a Save-On-Foods in North Van with a handicap parking spot up front. Every time I’d be getting out of my van, there’d be these guys returning bottles at the depot. It was a super-funny contrast to see these homeless, shirtless drunk guys making money and having a good time around all these rich North Van people. I had no idea they bombed hills at first. Then I followed them in a van down Mountain Highway, reaching 67 kilometres an hour, with a camera guy hanging out the window. So sketchy, and the carts were full of bottles. Originally it was supposed to be a comedy YouTube thing, and it turned into this feature-length documentary I’ve been filming for three years.”
INTEREST FROM THE NFB
“Carts of Darkness just hit all the National Film Board of Canada’s marks for social issues, and it’s a community-based film. I’m a director with a disability. The film has homeless people in it, alcoholism, urban recycling, and action in it. The guys that ride the shopping carts are pretty athletic and good at it, which some people find hard to believe. It just speaks to the Film Board on all those different levels.”