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A search for housing and security in the race against the coming winter.

Pushback is a feature-length documentary film about poverty and homelessness in Peterborough, Ontario – a community which has had, since the 2008 recession, one of the highest rates of unemployment in Canada. The film focuses on five people from the Warming Room, a homeless shelter of last resort that runs every night from 8:30pm till 8am, during the cold winter months. The Warming Room has literally saved lives, but like similar initiatives, it’s been plagued from the start by a lack of funding. It serves an essential need in Peterborough, and is our window onto the ways in which people push back against the invisible world of homelessness in Canada.


A previous guest of the Warming Room, Chad is a bright spark. He’s always on the move and never lacks for interesting conversation. He lost quite a few years to heavy drug addiction, but he’s recovering and is currently attending PACE to get his high school diploma. He plans to go into culinary at Fleming when he finishes, and he loves spending time with his three-year old son.


Andrew, a current staff member at the Warming Room, has been there from the start, when the shelter opened three years ago, and so he’s seen it through all its highs and lows. He’s a graduate of Fleming College’s social services program, and has made his work with the guests at the Warming Room his passion and career. We’ll follow Andrew as he deals with his own economic troubles, trying to balance his obligations and keep alive his dedication to helping others.


A former guest of the Warming Room, Kelly is now housed, but precariously. She is trying to get out of her current residence and into something more secure and healthy. She’s lived and taught abroad, and has mentored a generation of poor and marginalized youth in Peterborough. The highlight of her day is passing by the daycare on her street, when she can say hello to all the children.


A guest of the Warming Room, Brian struggles with chronic illness. He’s unable to lie down to sleep and so spends the night sitting and leaning on a table. He’s an incredible musician, and used to tour with bands throughout the country. He has a quick wit and uses it to stay positive in a situation others would find desperate.


A guest of the Warming Room, Mike is a philosopher. His canoe is perpetually overloaded with tubs of books, and always has a dozen profound quotes at hand. He’s struggled with addiction and injuries in the past, and currently calls Peterborough home. This may change in the future though, if he can make good on his plans to canoe down the St. Lawrence.