Hope Heights

Hope Heights challenges media representations of a community and highlights the beauty and strength of a neighbourhood and the young men that live there.

Short Summary

Hope Heights is a documentary short set in Lawrence Heights (one of Toronto’s thirteen priority neighbourhoods). The documentary challenges the common media representation of the community as one plagued with violence and dysfunction. Consistently at the centre of this negative story is the young men of Lawrence Heights. Hope Heights tells a different story. Through the voices of youth, community leaders and educators, the film highlights the beauty and strength of the neighbourhood and the character, humour, sensitivity and ambition of its young men. Hope Heights is a story of success.

 The Impact

Your contribution will help tell a story that is rarely told.

We need your help to create a platform to share voices and experiences that aren’t often heard. We are going to flip the story about Lawrence Heights that is seen by people outside of the community on its head. We are going to show that it is a loving and vibrant community and that the boys in the neighbourhood are by and large ambitious, humorous, brilliant and have real hope for their futures.


Our Story  

My name is Robin Phillips and I’m the Producer of Hope Heights.  

I am a teacher in Lawrence Heights. I have worked in the community for the past 6 years and I have had the privilege to teach so many incredible students. Students who are ambitious, passionate, and motivated. Students who recognize inequality and want to challenge it. I am constantly disappointed in the mainstream media in Toronto, which continues to tell a single story about Lawrence Heights—a message that ignores all of the beauty and ambition of the youth in the community. This was particularly glaring in the representations of the neighbourhood’s young men.

The disconnect between my experience as an educator in the community and the media messaging was the catalyst for this film.

Meet my amazing Director, Marc Whiteway…

Hello lovely Indie Gogo supporters all around the world!

As you can already see, we have a campaign on the go to fundraise for our film. We would have gone door-to-door selling chocolate covered almonds or collecting bottles but it would have taken far too long to get to all of you. Please have a look at our wonderful incentives and contribute if you are able to. We believe in this project wholeheartedly and would love to have your support to see it through to completion! We believe that this film will act to challenge negative stereoypes of marginalized neighbourhoods, not only in Toronto, but around the world. 

What We Need & What You Get

Our budget is $10,000 and all donations will be put directly into the film. 

The costs of making a film are incredible! We will use the funds you donate to pay for everything from equipment and camera rentals, editing expenses, transportation, stock news footage, as well as fees to artistic collaborators, such as graphic designers and musicians.

We will also use the funds to pay the youth involved in the project an honorarium for participating and to host a community BBQ  and film screening in Lawrence Heights.

Your support will help us challenge the negative images of Lawrence Heights in the media and help us showcase its beauty.


Thank you! 

Team on This Campaign: