Stoney Creek teen making his own documentary about poverty

Jordan White has about a week to raise a few thousand dollars to make a documentary about poverty in Hamilton, but he’s not afraid to dream big.
Jordan White, a Stoney Creek high school student, is making a documentary that where he performs good deeds and examines the issue of poverty. He's trying to raise money for it with a Kickstarter campaign. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

Jordan White has about a week to raise a few thousand dollars to make a documentary about poverty in Hamilton, but he’s not afraid to dream big.

The Cardinal Newman student is raising money to make Give Back, what he hopes will be a 90-minute film about poverty. He also hopes to do good deeds in the movie and document situations and reactions.

The film would be a leap forward for the 18-year-old, who has been making YouTube videos since he was 12. He’s assembled a team of about seven friends to help him.

“If we finish the project, it would really feel good to know we did something like that,” he said. “Besides, it would be a milestone.”

White’s foray into making videos started when his mom gave him a camera for this 12th birthday. It gave the shy adolescent a sudden outlet.

“I wasn’t a very social kid so I was inside a lot,” he said. “I got into watching YouTube videos and naturally I wanted to make my own.”

He and a friend from down the street started making videos, mainly of their excursions around Stoney Creek. One video was a take on Man Vs. Wild (the wild, in this case, was a creek by White’s house). They averaged about a video a month.

White got the idea for his film after seeing a YouTube channel called givebackfilms, where filmmakers do good deeds for people and film it. White wanted to do something similar but lacked any money of his own — he works two part-time jobs in addition to going to school. That’s when he launched his Kickstarter campaign.

If he’s successful, filming would start near the end of April, when many of his volunteers will have finished school. If he raises enough, White wants to take it on the road — Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania and possibly Montreal — to do the same good deeds and sets of interviews.

His goals include donating toys and blankets and performing random acts of kindness. He also plans to interview politicians and experts about poverty in the area.

He aims to raise $6,000 with the Kickstarter campaign. Among the rewards: a behind-the-scenes photo book, dinner with the cast and crew and a spot in the movie.

Ideally, White would like to be a filmmaker like his favourite, Christopher Nolan. He’d also like to be a private investigator in case filmmaking doesn’t happen. Film is a tough industry, he said.

But if he succeeds at this? Who knows.

“I would love if this branched into making actual movies,” he said. “If people like this movie, maybe I’ll make another one.”

If White doesn’t raise the money by his deadline of March 5, he still hopes to make the film, but on a more limited scale. 

Check out White's fundraising pitch:

The following video, from White's YouTube channel, involves wearing a GoPro camera to do Parkour around three Stoney Creek elementary schools: