Broadcast Premiere on CBC TV's Doc Zone
Once the domain of international NGO's, like CUSO or Peace Corps, overseas volunteering has privatized and gone mainstream, attracting millions of young travelers. Volunteers Unleashed follows volunteers to South America, Southeast Asia and Africa, showing how "voluntourism" has become the fastest growing and the most controversial travel sector.
Leading this story is 22-year-old Pippa Biddle, who after a series of voluntourism experiences over 6 years, posted a critical blog. It went viral, with over 15 million hits, and instantly launched her as the poster child against privileged young white women volunteering overseas.
In Tanzania we follow a new intake of western volunteers as they travel, party and volunteer. Among them are untrained medical volunteers, eager for experience, who tackle procedures beyond their training or ability, and potentially put a patient's life at risk.
In Cambodia, a former UK Police Detective Eric Meldrum, and investigative reporter Juliana Ruhfus, show the link between the volunteers working in orphanages, and the exploitation of the very children they have come to help. In an Ecuador animal refuge, we see a profit-driven voluntourism company prey on volunteers' good intentions.
Volunteers Unleashed shows dramatically that going overseas with good intentions, does not guarantee good will be done.
Inspired by his daughter Jennica's life changing experience as a volunteer in Tanzania in 2012, Vancouver filmmaker Brad Quenville (The Dolphin Dealer, Ice Pilots, Pyros, Highway Thru Hell) went back to Africa with his daughter and DOP Kyle Sandilands to shoot and develop the documentary.Volunteers Unleashed is directed, produced and written by Brad Quenville, Line Produced by Patti Poskitt, and Narrated by Ann-Marie MacDonald.
Volunteers Unleashed is co-produced with CBC TV and Q CAMERA PRODUCTIONS LTD. With the assistance of the Canadian Media Fund, Film Incentive BC Tax Credit and the Canadian Film and Video Productions Tax Credit.
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Media Contact: Helen Yagi