Film Reviews

The Great Disconnect

Bright Spot

“This documentary is a comprehensive look at all the societal trends that are contributing to our modern sense of loneliness and disconnection. As someone who has tried to make new friends and find a community in a big city, I see these issues all around me. I hope we can all heed the messages in this film and put more time and energy into our social connections—which are crucial to our happiness and well-being and the flourishing of our societies.”
- Kira Newman
Editor and writer at Greater Good Science Centre
“The Great Disconnect is a wonderful film that really encourages critical reflection and challenges the traditional concept of community. The film touches on how difficult finding community can be when living in urban spaces. As someone who works in and with community everyday, I love to watch a film that challenges my thinking and makes me reflect on my own sense of community. A thought provoking film that reminds viewers of the importance of community on well-being, I would definitely recommend!”
- Emma Wallace
Program Specialist at Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations
  “As Chair of the Centre for the Study of Living Standards I am  very much interested in individuals' and societies' well-being. Those who study well-being have come to realize they need to broaden their perspective beyond standard measures such as employment and income. Social connections feature prominently in self-assessments of happiness or well-being. Solid social and family connections are common factors for individuals and societies who age well, physically and mentally. The Great Disconnect provides a masterful distillation of these theoretical links to well-being. But the documentary provides its greatest service in demonstrating at the personal level how connections support well-being and isolation leads to mental and physical impairment. The documentary is informative and entertaining while driving home a powerful lesson in this era of the great disconnect. Hang up and connect!”
-Don Drummond
Former Chief Economist and SVP, TD Bank Former Associate Deputy Minister, Finance Canada Stauffer-Dunning Fellow, Queen's University
"Here in the City of Edmonton we have a civic department called "The Neighborhoods Services”, staff work hard to stand with neighborhood leaders as they focus on building their local communities. This documentary is a tool that leaps that work forward. Municipalities, NGO's, neighborhood leadership all stand to advance the neighboring movement through the showing of this compelling work."
- Chantile Shannon
Director, Neighborhoods Services City of Edmonton
“This film describes one of the most pressing issue of our time - loneliness and the erosion of our social fabric. It was inspiring to see how powerful just one woman and a simple invitation could be to bringing people together again in a city like Vancouver. It inspired me to throw a block party in my own neighbourhood!”
-Natasha Pei
Community Animator, Tamarack Institute
“This movie was a game changer in my life. I knew community was important, and that we’re so cut off in our lives from our communities, but what I didn’t realize is how much I was part of that disconnect! This movie has changed how I interact with strangers, acquaintances, and people I know very well. Definitely a must-see!!”
-Sarah Griffin
Teacher
“This film assisted us in creating  a space that enabled our audience to reflect on the human need for belonging and highlighted that meaningful relationships with others is what drives our sense of belonging. This in turn helped youth delegates and adults in our audience to connect in a meaningful way, and to recognize the gaps that exist in our society, so that together we can continue to address the barriers of isolation for all people living in our communities. The message of this film is timely and relevant to audiences of all ages.”  
-Emily Branje
Community Development, Disability Rights and Awareness Consultant, Community Living Ontario
“I had a chance to join this screening and really enjoyed it. It reinforced some of my beliefs in community development, especially the most important idea that we are heading into a social isolation crisis. It is going to take a lot of retraining within our society to feel comfortable reaching out to strangers. Thanks for making and sharing this important message”
-Kimberly Stratford
Neighbourhood Coordinator, City of Victoria
“Having just moved into a condo in a new city I want to reach out to my new neighbours. The movie, The Great Disconnect is a must see movie for all towns, villages and cities. Getting connected with the people around you, stepping out of your comfort zone- to build opportunities for community! So wonderful!”
-Marilyn Moffat
Marilyn Moffat
"The Great Disconnect focuses our attention on what matters the most - our connections with each other. This film asks the right questions and draws interesting links through a compelling story arc. As our cities and communities continue to grow and change, deliberately making places that feel like home - that feed our spirits in addition to nourishing our bodies - is a critical health and wellness issue for individuals and collectivities alike. Building great places is fundamentally about planning for people, and this includes supporting diverse needs for ongoing connection. Don't miss The Great Disconnect.”

-Kalen Anderson
Vice President of Capital Planning and Chief Planner at the National Capital Commission

“As an economist specializing in the measurement of well-being and happiness and author of The Economics of Happiness: Building Genuine Wealth (2007) and An Economy of Well-being (2018), I feel The Great Disconnect presents a compelling new narrative for building resilient communities and economies of well-being particularly in 'building back better' in a post-Covid pandemic economic recovery. The science of well-being reveals that relationships, trust and a sense belonging to a neighbourhood is undeniably the most important asset that defines quality of life across Canada. We need more stories like The Great Disconnect presents that amplifies the statistical well-being indicators, both objective and subjective or perceptional. I believe that perceived and lived well-being are important factors to guide the development of an economy of well-being for Canada. This important documentary film makes a compelling case for well-being, neighbouring, and creating more conditions for building enduring relationships are critical to Canada.”
-Mark Anielski
Economist and Author of the Economics of Happiness: Building Genuine Wealth
“The Great Disconnect is such a timely film! The negative health impacts of social isolation are very concerning. Our audience loved the encouragement to reach out to others in as many ways as possible. The film is a great balance between hearing from experts and showing how simple actions can be taken by each of us in order to increase our connections with others. City planners have a role to play in designing spaces that encourage connections too. Thank you for this film!”
-Janet Fairbanks
Former Director of Education at Hospital Employees Union
The Great Disconnect documentary is an incredible resource that facilitates inspiring conversations amongst citizens, professionals, and changemakers from many communities. In Chestermere, we were able to work with the filmmakers, panelists and audience members to collectively speak about our love for communities and neighbourhoods. Tamer and Sarah’s support, enthusiasm, experience, and passion around this work has led to the success of our own community event. We thank them both for their gift to the world, and for helping us commence the work on re-connection.
-Danielle Fermin, BSW, MSW, RSW
Manager, Community Support Services, City of Chestermere

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