The Hyperlocal Documentary

The Hyperlocal Documentary

Hyperlocal is a term that is used to describe journalism and media directed at local communities throughout the web. What I call a “hyperlocal documentary” is a discipline within documentary filmmaking which shifts the emphasis from product to process, with the purpose of assisting citizens to exercise their collective power.

The Six Block Documentary: Vaisbord's thesis, that within a 6 block radius any filmmaker can find compelling subjects for his artistic practice.

The Six Block Documentary: Vaisbord’s thesis, that within a 6 block radius any filmmaker can find compelling subjects for his artistic practice.

The red dot on this map is where I live. Seven years ago, I decided to change the direction of my documentary filmmaking practice. I wrote the Six-Block Manifesto as a guideline for filmmaking. For more complete information about the Six-Block Manifesto read the April 2013 issue of POV Magazine.

A recent study published by University of British Columbia examining census data, confirms that dramatic changes are reshaping the city’s socio-economic landscape. Vancouver, once solidly middle-class is emerging a city of extremes.

And in the light of such changes, I have been inspired by the words of Geographer David Harvey who suggests that citizens of the world have a “right to the city” According to Harvey, The right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city.

Vancouver - City of extremes. (photo: Vaisbord)

Vancouver – City of extremes. (photo: Vaisbord)

After the destruction of Little Mountain in 2009/2010 I was faced with a choice, to end the production there, or to continue shooting, with no particular end point in sight. Would I make a single documentary, or would it be multi-part? Was my role better defined as an observer or participant?

In the Hyperlocal Documentary the community's thoughts are streamed back to the community.

In the Hyperlocal Documentary the community’s thoughts are streamed back to the community.

I answered my questions on February 3, 2010, when I attended and recorded the first meeting of the Little Mountain Advisory Group. The Little Mountain Project would exist as both process AND product, and my role would be as both participant AND observer.

I recorded all of the meetings and streamed them on line. I also uploaded key story elements such as “The Eviction of Sammy and Joan” for the purpose of advocacy, and density studies, and civic debates such as the raucus Housing Debate of 2011 which pitted NPA councillor Susan Anton against Mayor Gregor Robertson against Occupy Vancouver. In 2014 I uploaded a lecture by Dr. Wendy Sarkissian titled Densification Wars dealing with the increasing discontent of communities with their civic governments.

TODAY there is a feature documentary to complete, titled “Champions of Little Mountain.” You can view the trailer here.