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Living off Craigslist and the kindness of strangers

A filmmaker gave up his home, cash, credit cards and even his friends for a month in a bid to discover whether Americans were capable of helping each other through hard financial times via the internet.

American filmmaker documents a month of survival via Craigslist

American filmmaker Joe Garner spent a month living off the kindness of strangers he contacted on Craigslist, the internet classified site. (Craigslist Joe trailer)

A filmmaker gave up cash and credit cards — and even his friends — for a month in a bid to discover whether Americans were capable of helping each other through hard financial times via the internet.

The result? Craigslist Joe, a documentary that chronicles Joe Garner's month of living off Craigslist, the internet classified ad giant, where he took advantage of free items and bartered his skills for food, shelter, personal hygiene and even companionship

In an interview on CBC Radio's As it Happens, Garner, 29, said the idea came to him while finishing another film in Las Vegas, a city hard hit by the great recession of 2008. With the unemployment rate rocketing along with home foreclosures, Garner wondered what his life would be like if he were facing that situation.

"If I had no one to turn to when I was in need, are we at a place in our society where we can take care of each other?" Garner wondered.

So, he left home with only a laptop computer, cellphone, toothbrush and the clothes on his back to find out. His first move: finding a camera operator on Craigslist to shoot the footage.

The movie is set for release on Aug. 2