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The Stairs
The Stairs

The Stairs, Hugh Gibson’s documentary about three recovering drug addicts in Toronto’s Moss Park, was named the winner of the 2016 Rogers Best Canadian Film Award, given by the Toronto Film Critics Association.

The award, which comes with a $100,000 cheque from Rogers, was presented to the filmmaker by fellow director Sarah Polley, who won the same award for her family documentary Stories We Tell five years ago. Also nominated for the award were Kazik Radwanski for How Heavy This Hammer and Matt Johnson for Operation Avalanche, who each received $5,000 from Rogers Communications.

“This is the fourth time in the past 11 years that our members have chosen a documentary as the Canadian film of the year,” said Brian D Johnson, outgoing President of the TFCA. “With The Stairs, Hugh Gibson has pulled off a stunning feat of vérité filmmaking—an intimate character study that illuminates issues of addiction with an empathetic, non-judgmental eye—and pulls poetry out of despair.”

The Stairs tells the story of Marty, Greg and Roxanne, each of whom survived decades of street-involvement in Toronto’s Regent Park. Using their experiences to ease the paths of others, each works in public health in their old neighborhood while struggling to maintain their newly-found stability. Told over five years, The Stairs defies stereotypes about drug use, sex work and homelessness through an intimate portrait that is by turns funny, surprising and moving.

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