The Stairs Regent Park documentary wins $100,000 prize

Toronto film critics gave Hugh Gibson’s The Stairs, about habitual drug users in the city’s Regent Park community, a $100,000 award for best homegrown feature on Tuesday night.The intimate documentary won the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award at the Toronto Film Critics Association gala, which drew in luminaries including Quebec director Denis Villeneuve, who received an award for excellence.Gibson spent five years following social workers who help drug users through harm-reduction methods while also battling their own addiction issues at the community health centre.“They’re incredible people — they’re funny, they’re articulate, they’re not what you expect,” he said in an interview. “There are a lot of preconceptions about what a drug user, what a sex-trade worker is.“You don’t necessarily think of mother, grandmother, poet, someone who is funny, whip-smart, et cetera.”Article Continued BelowIn his acceptance speech, he thanked those who let him into their lives and taught him about strength, resilience and “a different way of seeing street life.”“I hope that I honoured their stories,” he said. “And also shout out to people who didn’t make it over the five years,” he added, putting his hand over his heart. “You’re right here with me.”