Red Button: Homeless Youth

Homeless youth in Toronto capture their lives with camera phones.
Available on CBC Gem

Red Button: Homeless Youth

Short Docs



RED BUTTON is an innovative storytelling project where the documentary subjects become the filmmakers.

In the first series of RED BUTTON stories, homeless youth in Toronto used camera phones to film their lives. Participants were given audio/video gear and offered a workshop to learn the basics of filmmaking. The homeless youth featured also received one-on-one guidance from professional filmmakers.

Then they captured their world from the inside and their footage was cut into short films that offer intimate perspectives on homelessness.

The Story of Red Button

Red Button is a revolutionary approach to storytelling where doc subjects become filmmakers. Homeless youth were given smartphones, audio and camera gear to film themselves. They were given a workshop to learn the basics of filmmaking and also had one-on-one guidance from professional filmmakers

The young people who participated in the project wanted to share their experiences and have their voices heard in the hopes of breaking through misconceptions and stereotypes surrounding homeless youth.


UPDATE: Peter Saunders a.k.a “Rabbit” died in early November 2019.  If you or anyone you know is in crisis visit this resource to find out where you can get help.

Rabbit, 23, is homeless. He has an addiction to fentanyl and other opioids.

Warning: Some scenes in this video may be disturbing to some viewers.


Terence, 22, was given a camera phone to capture his experience at a homeless shelter.

Listen to Terence’s music on itunes and Soundcloud.

The producers would like to thank the following organizations:

Horizons for Youth
Eva's Satellite
Raising the Roof

Bell FundThe series is produced with the assistance of the Bell Fund.