One of the biggest challenges we had producing The Condo Game was finding condo owners willing to share their stories on camera. We had access to experts with literally thousands of condo owners on file, owners who had problems with their units. People were happy to spend hours on the phone, talking about issues with their condos, but speak on camera and risk falling property value….not so much.
Here’s our Toronto director Lionel Goddard: “Over the years I have had some big access challenges. The last doc I did for CBC was Cannabiz and I can honestly say it was easier to get people to talk openly about their illegal grow-ops than it was to get people to show us their crappy condo. There are a lot of smart, articulate condo owners in Toronto afraid to speak out – concerned their words will erode property values and inflame other residents. Fear is as much a part of the condo landscape as glass. On this documentary, Yvette Brend (researcher extraordinaire) and I spoke to dozens of frustrated condo peeps and reached out to countless others through social media. Most calls and emails ended with a version of: ‘So glad someone is finally doing a doc on this but I can’t talk about this right now. So sorry.’
Researcher extraordinaire, Yvette Brend: “It’s tougher to get people to talk about their condo troubles than it is to get people to speak out about gang activity. Once a person has bought into a building with issues, they want it kept quiet, or how will they ever sell? Some sue the developer, but that leaves a building with a shadow over it. Most high-level condo lawyers discourage lawsuits. They work hard to settle or mediate because it just isn’t worth it for condo owners who take on developers with deep pockets.”
Of course Yvette did find some brave souls willing to go on camera and you meet them in the doc.
The Condo Game – CBC Doc Zone, Thursday Nov 21 @ 9pm
Watch the trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8selboCYDBU&feature=youtu.be