LOTUSLAND, 77min., Canada, Documentary
Directed by Attila Luca

LOTUSLAND documents the remarkable transformation over the past 30 years of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Vancouver, Hong Kong, San Francisco, and Sydney have become interconnected by movements of people and money around the Pacific Rim and are experiencing similar urban upheaval.

These Pacific Rim cities have changed from open places (“Lotusland“) where the residents once worked and lived comfortably to exclusive places (“Luxuryland“) where many residents now scramble to find affordable housing or otherwise commute from a distance.

We take a trip back in time to Expo86 in Vancouver when living was easy in Lotusland. Space was available. Industry was more diversified. Good-paying job prospects were more plentiful and sufficient to cover the cost of living. Businessman and philanthropist, Jimmy Pattison, CEO of Expo86 sets the stage in an interview for the events, the story and the drama to come. He describes Vancouver as it was.
Fast forward to the present. Luxuryland. A wealthy business class is inflating property values in safe global asset havens around the Pacific Rim. What has happened? Money. Lots of it. Buying property. Pushing up prices. Speculation. Money laundering. Government inaction. Corruption. Immigration. Emigration. The changes. Cultural and economic. The Attorney General of BC, David Eby, describes in an interview actions taken by his current government to eliminate the problems endemic in Luxuryland.
In the process, there has been a lot of collateral damage. Human. Buildings. Heritage. Longtime residents have been dispossessed and live in tiny spaces, pop-up homes, vans, tents and on the street or are forced to move away. Ballooning housing and rental prices, property speculation, money laundering and homelessness have prompted widespread protests and forced government intervention.

Tenants are organizing. Fighting renoviction. Demoviction. Gentrification. Demanding changes in the Tenancy Act. The stress of living in the city and dealing with a reduction in the quality of life for the young and seniors and the loss of neighbourhood, is telling. As density and prices increase so does general anxiety about living conditions. We talk to the newcomers. Oldtimers. Developers. Preservationists. Architects. Politicians. The street. The dispossessed.

By documentaryfestival

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