Dave Johns and Hayley Squires star in the heart-warming drama, I, Daniel Blake, that will be screened in Maple Ridge on Jan. 18. (Contributed)

I, Daniel Blake to be screened in Maple Ridge

Award winning movie tells the story about one man’s fight to get social assistance in England

Cinema Politica will be screening the award-winning drama I, Daniel Blake.

The heart-warming story takes place in the United Kingdom where a 59-year-old newly widowed carpenter recovering from a major heart attack is forced to turn to the state for financial help. However, despite his cardiologist’s assessment that he is not fit for work, he is denied the government’s employment and support allowance which he desperately needs. While he attempts to fight the decision he befriends a single mother and her two children also trying to navigate the system.

The film, written by Paul Laverty and directed by Ken Loach, is the winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. It has also won Outstanding British Film of the year at the 2017 British Academy Film Awards and many other international awards.

The movie stars Dave Johns, Hayley Squires and Sharon Percy.

Guest speakers will be invited to lead a discussion following the screening. The number of speakers usually varies between one and four at every event.

“We are still hoping for confirmation from two other organizations,” said Oosha Ramsoondar with Cinema Politica Ridge Meadows.

“With the Christmas season it was difficult to get confirmations in a timely manner, but we are working on it,” she said.

So far Bob Goos, a former pastor with St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Maple Ridge and anti-poverty activist in the community will be taking part.

He will be talking about issues brought up in the movie like the weakening of the social safety net allowing more people to fall through the cracks.

“I wish that every Maple Ridge resident will see this movie,” said Ramsoondar.

“Because it shows the impact of austerity on the most vulnerable people in our communities and the impact of tightening of access to social services, income assistance and all that. And how it adversely impacts families and individuals and people, making their lives so much more difficult,” she continued.

Ramsoondar had the opportunity to travel to London, England in May, 2017, and she was surprised with the level of poverty that she saw compared to trips she had taken in the past.

“People are really living much, much more differently. There is more poverty. You can actually see more people on the streets. Housing being more dilapidated and unkempt, so there are more tenants. All that I knew about England, earlier on, let’s say the last 20 years ago has changed,” said Ramsoondar about what she says are the effects of austerity measures started seven years ago by former United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron and that are still going on under current Prime Minister Theresa May.

“As we are moving forward it seems to be that all governments in the western world seem to want to follow and it’s not going to be good for regular folk,” she said.

I, Daniel Blake will be screened at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 18 at Maple Ridge City Hall council chambers at 11995 Haney Place.

You must be 19-years or older to attend.

Admission is free.

Cinema Politica Ridge Meadows was established in 2010 and screens films that encourage debate and discussion on issues that they find relevant to the residents of Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and the Katzie First Nations.

For more information email ridgemeadows@cinemapolitica.org, call 604-466-3144 or go to cinemapolitica.org.

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