Carts of Darkness by Murray Siple

NFB, 2006, 59 mins 29s

English – Documentary

From the picture-postcard community of North Vancouver, filmmaker Murray Siple who began his film career making extreme sport videos, travels with captures the lives of men have turned bottle-picking, their primary source of income, into the extreme sport of shopping cart racing. In 1996, a serious car accident changed Murray’s life forever when he became a quadriplegic. Ten years later, Murray returns to filmmaking, with this feature documentary on that depicts street life as much more than the stereotypes available to us in the mainstream media.


I lived in Whistler, B.C and directed five independent action sport videos that were pre-“X-games” and pre-“mainstream extreme”. I set down deep roots in a short period while living in the mountain community; and traveled internationally filming snow and skateboarding. That lifestyle/ dream was destroyed in 1996 when a high-speed motor vehicle accident compounded by an emergency room error rendered me a quadriplegic.

Throughout the following eight years, I continued to hope that my life could still somehow include my passion for filmmaking. Eventually, I was able to renovate a home in North Vancouver that became a model of accessibility and independence. But outside the comforting accessibility of this new home, my vantage point was largely limited to flat pathways, accessible public buildings, and shopping centers.

I learned to drive a van which extended my freedom, but my limited hand dexterity made it difficult to work a camera like I had before. So in spite of solid gains in the direction of freedom and mobility, I found myself largely retreating from the dream of returning to filmmaking. The next few years were chiefly spent adjusting to my disability and trying to ignore the craving to make films.

I discovered the story behind Carts of Darkness when I was grocery shopping one evening. I noticed some loud individuals who were cashing in bottles. I had a romantic vision that both of our lifestyles were stereotypes to the passing customers: the drunken and comically disordered bottle returners, and me, wheelchair-bound and precarious in my adapted vehicle. When I approached the men with the idea to make a film, a world was revealed to me I had never expected to discover in my own neighbourhood.

Read more about the film here>>

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