Chicken manure incident documentary to be screened in Abbotsford

A film exploring the aftermath of dumping manure on a site frequented by the homeless will premiere in Abbotsford on Jan. 25

Kevin Miller

Kevin Miller

A film exploring the aftermath of a controversial decision by Abbotsford city staff to dump manure on a site frequented by the homeless will premiere in Abbotsford on Jan. 25.

Documentary filmmaker Kevin Miller will show his 44-minute film, The Chicken Manure Incident, at Fresh Wind Christian Fellowship Church at 7 p.m.

Miller, who called Abbotsford home for 15 years, calls the film an “accidental documentary.” Having previously worked as a writer-director on his films – including Hellbound?, which was recently released on Netflix – he began trying his hand at shooting his own film. He began filming a short profile of Ward Draper, founder of the 5 and 2 Ministries, a faith-based advocacy group for the homeless.

While making the profile, Miller received a call from Draper, telling him about the manure dump.

“Next thing you know, I’m just following these guys around as they’re trying to deal with the situation. Suddenly I found myself shooting a documentary.”

The film follows Draper and Jesse Wegenast of 5 and 2 Ministries in the weeks following the incident. The film also features interviews with Mayor Bruce Banman, Chief Constable Bob Rich and several members of Abbotsford’s homeless community.

Miller said he hopes the film helps humanize people on all sides of the issue, adding that the homeless “are people who have stories and are wrestling with issues, just like everyone else.”

A portion of all proceeds raised by the film will go to 5 and 2 Ministries, and Miller said he hopes it can help raise the profile of the 5 and 2.

“I think the work they’re doing is vitally important.”

Though Miller said he knows each person will interpret the film differently, he hopes that telling the occasionally unpleasant story will have a positive effect.

“The key thing for me is what can we learn from this? How can we move forward?”

Miller, Draper and Wegenast will all be present at the Abbotsford premiere to do post-screening question and answer.